Wilberforce University Will Participate in Decontamination Efforts at Nuclear Site

Wilberforce University, the historically black educational institution in Ohio, has signed an agreement with Fluor-B&W Portsmouth, the U.S. Department of Energy’s contractor for the decontamination and decommissioning of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, Ohio.

In the early 1950s, the Atomic Energy Commission sought to dramatically expand its production of enriched uranium both for military purposes — nuclear submarines and weapons — and to provide fuel for an expanding fleet of commercial nuclear power plants. Considering the area’s abundant water resources, labor force, availability of reliable electrical power and transportation routes, Piketon, Ohio, was chosen in August 1952 to complement the federal government’s gaseous diffusion program. Uranium enrichment activities at Portsmouth concluded in May of 2001. The site is now in cold shutdown awaiting decontamination and decommissioning. The site includes 134 buildings with more than 10 million square feet of floor space.

Under the agreement students at Wilberforce will be offered internships with the project. Company engineers will make presentations on the Wilberforce campus and faculty at the university will be consulted for their expertise.

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