The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Paducah, Kentucky, was the last U.S.-owned uranium enrichment facility in the United States.
Owned by the U.S. Department of Energy, it was leased and operated by Centrus Energy Corp.’s predecessor until October 2014. From the 1960s to 2013, it produced low-enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants in the United States and around the world.
The plant was opened in 1952 as part of a U.S. government program to produce highly enriched uranium to fuel military reactors and produce nuclear weapons. Enrichment at Paducah originally was limited to low levels, and the plant served as a “feed facility” for other defense plants in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and Piketon, Ohio, where the enriched uranium was processed.
That mission changed in the 1960s, when Paducah, along with its sister plant in Piketon, began to enrich uranium for use in commercial nuclear reactors to generate electricity.
In May 2001, the company completed a plan to consolidate its uranium enrichment operations at Paducah. In June 2002, transfer and shipping operations at the Piketon plant were also consolidated at Paducah. Enrichment operations at Paducah ceased for economic reasons in 2013.