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U.S. Department of Energy transferring uranium byproduct away from Paducah site

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management is taking steps to dispose of uranium oxide, a key uranium-enrichment byproduct, by transferring it out of storage in a western Kentucky facility.

The first multi-car shipment of 60 uranium-oxide storage cylinders left by rail from the DOE's site at the former Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant and arrived at a licensed conversion facility in west Texas earlier this week.

The agency’s inventory of depleted uranium hexafluoride is a result of more than 50 years of uranium enrichment at the plant.

The operations and maintenance contractor for the project uses special gondola rail cars outfitted with GPS trackers to provide for continuous monitoring during transport.

A departmental cleanup oversight office is responsible for converting more than 700,000 metric tons of depleted uranium hexafluoride for safe reuse and disposal.

The DOE says this is an essential step to address one of the nation's most significant environmental legacies from the Cold War era.

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