July 11, 2014 15:43 by Alice
The US Department of Energy (DOE) conducts environmental monitoring at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) and releases an Annual Site Environmental Report (ASER). Although available to the public, the ASER is developed for site managers and DOE Headquarters. This year, under the guidance of UK CAER’s Kentucky Research Consortium for Energy and the Environment (KRCEE), Marshall County High School AP Environmental Science will summarize what they have learned about the PGDP ASER. The goal is to educate local students about the operations and cleanup activities at the PGDP and communicate the students’ new knowledge to the public.
Leading up to the PGDP tour, DOE Program Manager, Tracey Duncan, and KRCEE Principle Investigators, Steve Hampson and Dr. Richard Hallbrook gave lectures on the history and environmental challenges of the PGDP. On May 13th, members of KRCEE, Marshall County students and staff were given a DOE guided tour of the PGDP.
Afterwards, the group assembled at the Western Kentucky Wildlife Management Area (WKWMA) lodge to experience a presentation with live specimens by Dr. Steven Price, UK, Dept. of Forestry. The group then toured the WKWMA as Tim Kreher, Kentucky Wildlife Biologist, explained ecological considerations, use and management at the WKWMA.
Steve Hampson of the University of Kentucky, West Kentucky Community & Technical College President Dr. Barbara Veazey, Paducah Junior College Board of Trustees member Ken Wheeler, and Buz Smith of the Department of Energy examine a DOE Paducah Site groundwater model exhibit created by the UK College of Design at the WKCTC Emerging Technology Center.
CAER researchers Anne Oberlink and Liz Harman-Ware reached out to high school girls at the EKU Girls’ STEM Day recently. The scientists were accompanied by two high girls who recently toured CAER. STEM practitioners and educators led girls through activities that mirror real-world STEM tasks and highlight creative and innovative problem solving. Anne and Liz exhibited and served as mentors.
Anne (left) and Liz
For the last 60 years, Paducah, Kentucky, has been the point of origin for enriched uranium bound for U.S. energy and defense. The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, and the surrounding 3,000 acres, is one of the most contaminated top-secret sites in the United States. Since 2003, the Kentucky Research Consortium for Energy and the Environment has gathered scientific data, investigated remediation techniques, and talked to Paducah residents about the future of the site. What was missing was a way to communicate the science of what was happening underground to spark conversation about the potential of the site. That’s where design came in. University of Kentucky College of Design students were enlisted to visualize the 5 miles of toxic pollutants underground, as well as research future uses for the site. The one with the greatest potential was the idea that the problem, the contamination, was the solution. Technology developed in Paducah could be exported to other contaminated sites around the globe.
UK College of Design students have created a vision of what the future could hold for this plant. Go to: http://www.research.uky.edu/reveal/paducah.shtml
More information on the KRCEE program can be found at: http://www.caer.uky.edu/environment/home.shtml