PADUCAH — As the U.S. Department of Energy Paducah site completed its first site-level emergency exercise since the beginning of COVID-19, construction crews broke ground on a new Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to improve the coordination and response to emergencies across the site.

The 3,500 square-foot facility will replace the existing EOC, which was established in the site’s C-300 Control Building around 1990. The C-300 Control Building was built during the 1950s. The new modern facility will be used to monitor environmental conditions and to house emergency management personnel.

“Safety is a priority at DOE’s cleanup sites. As we continue deactivation and demolition of older plant and support structures, a modern emergency response facility designed for today’s needs is critical to supporting our emergency response team,” said Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office Program Manager Joel Bradburne.

The EOC supports the entire 3,556 acre site, including the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant and the DUF6 Conversion Plant. Deactivation and remediation contractor, Four Rivers Nuclear Partnership, is responsible for operating the EOC and providing emergency response, including fire, security, medical and other important functions to support emergency response for the site.

“While our employees take proactive steps to avoid site emergencies, our emergency management team must collaborate with all on-site organizations to plan effective responses to potential hazards,” said FRNP Program Manager Myrna Redfield. “This requires our team to excel in contingency planning and participate in immersive training scenarios that allow our response organizations to be prepared in the event of a real emergency.”

The new EOC will include upgrades to technologies and software that enhances communication capabilities and helps improve response time to emergent events. These tools are crucial in protecting site personnel, the community and the environment.