The DUF6 facility was built by the federal government in an approach to reduce the hazards of the depleted uranium hexflouride tails stream of the enrichment process, stored in various tonage & cylinders at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP).  

1998: Public Law (P.L.) 105-204 Signed

In July 1998, the President signed Public Law (PL) 105-204. This law directed the Secretary of Energy to prepare “a plan to ensure that all amounts accrued on the books” of the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) for the disposition of DUF6 would be used to commence construction of, not later than January 31, 2004, and to operate, an on-site facility at each of the gaseous diffusion plants at Paducah and Portsmouth, to treat and recycle DUF6 consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). DOE responded to PL 105-204 by issuing the Final Plan for the Conversion of Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride (referred to herein as the “Conversion Plan”) in July 1999. The Conversion Plan describes DOE’s intent to chemically process the DUF6 to create products that would present both a lower long-term storage hazard and provide a material that would be suitable for use or disposal.

1999: Conversion Plan Initiated with Request for Proposals (RFP)

DOE initiated the Conversion Plan with the announced availability of a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) on July 30, 1999, for a contractor to design, construct, and operate DUF6 conversion facilities at the Paducah and Portsmouth uranium enrichment plant sites. Based on comments received on the draft RFP, DOE revisited some of the assumptions about management of the DUF6 inventory made previously in the PEIS and ROD. For example, as documented in the Oak Ridge National Laboratory study, Assessment of Preferred Depleted Uranium Disposal Forms (ORNL/TM- 2000/161, June 2000), four potential conversion forms (triuranium octaoxide (U 30 8), uranium dioxide (U0 2), uranium tetrafluoride (UF 4), and uranium metal) were evaluated and found to be acceptable for near-surface disposal at low-level radioactive waste disposal sites such as those at DOE’s Nevada Test Site and Envirocare of Utah, Inc. Therefore, the RFP was modified to allow for a wide range of potential conversion product forms and process technologies. However, any of the proposed conversion forms must have an assured environmentally acceptable path for final disposition.

2000: Final RFP Issued

On October 31, 2000, DOE issued a final RFP (http://www.oro.doe.gov/duf6disposition/) to procure a contractor to design, construct, and operate DUF6 conversion facilities at the Paducah and Portsmouth plant sites. Any conversion plants that result from this procurement would convert the DUF6 to a more stable chemical form that is suitable for either beneficial use or disposal. The selected contractor would design the conversion plants using the technology it proposes and construct the plants. The selected contractor also would operate the plants for a five-year period, which would include maintaining depleted uranium and product inventories, transporting all uranium hexafluoride storage cylinders in Tennessee to a conversion plant at Portsmouth, as appropriate, and transporting converted product for which there is no use to a disposal site. The selected contractor would also prepare excess material for disposal at an appropriate site.

2001: Advance Notice of Intent for Conversion EIS Issued

In May 2001, DOE received five proposals in response to the DUF6conversion RFP, and DOE anticipates that a contract will be awarded during the first quarter of fiscal year 2002. Since the site-specific NEPA process will not be completed prior to contract award, the contract shall be contingent on completion of the NEPA process and will be structured such that the NEPA process will be completed in advance of a go/no-go decision. DOE initiated the NEPA review by issuing an Advance Notice of Intent to prepare an EIS for the DUF6 conversion facilities on May 7, 2001 (66 FR 23010).

2002: Public Law 107-206 Signed and Conversion Contract Awarded

In August 2002, the President signed the 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act for Further Recovery From and Response to Terrorist Attacks on the United States (Public Law No. 107-206). This law stipulated in part that, within 30 days of enactment, DOE must award a contract for the scope of work described in the RFP, including the design, construction, and operation of a DUF6 conversion plant at each of the Department’s Paducah, Kentucky and Portsmouth, Ohio sites, and the shipment of DUF6 cylinders stored at ETTP to the Portsmouth site for conversion. Accordingly, the DOE awarded a contract to Uranium Disposition Services, LLC (UDS), on August 29, 2002.

B&W Wins Uranium Conversion Contract for DOE’s Paducah and Portsmouth Facilities

(CHARLOTTE, N.C. – December 9, 2010) – The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W) (NYSE:BWC) announced today that Babcock & Wilcox Conversion Services, LLC (BWCS) was awarded a five-year, $428 million contract by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for uranium conversion operations at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant and the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

“We appreciate the Department of Energy awarding us this contract, which will further expand our portfolio of nuclear services,” said B&W TSG President S. Robert Cochran. “We look forward to working at Paducah and Portsmouth with the same high standards of safety and operational rigor that we apply throughout the company and have demonstrated at the other government sites we operate.”

B&W subsidiary Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services Group, Inc. (B&W TSG) and URS have formed BWCS as the operations contractor at both locations. B&W TSG is the majority partner in BWCS. BWCS will operate the depleted uranium hexafluoride (known as DUF6) conversion facilities at the two sites. BWCS will also establish a corporate project management office in Lexington, Ky., to facilitate ease of interactions with the DOE and the Paducah and Portsmouth Project Offices. These conversion facilities were designed and built to convert DOE’s inventory of DUF6 to a more stable uranium oxide form (UOx) that can be characterized as acceptable for transportation and disposal. BWCS will also provide continuing cylinder surveillance and maintenance services for the inventory of DUF6, low-enrichment uranium hexafluoride (UF6), normal UF6, and other cylinders.

B&W Conversion Services, L.L.C. will assume operational management of the facility on March 29, 2011 You can check out the latest information at http://www.bwconversionservices.com