Waste disposal

The US government is intervening in a lawsuit against Lockheed Martin Energy Systems for submitting false claims in connection with the operations of the US Department of Energy’s Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

The US government is intervening in a lawsuit against Lockheed Martin Energy Systems for submitting false claims in connection with the operations of the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. The plant itself separates uranium isotopes by gaseous diffusion, a process that produces enriched uranium that is used as fuel in commercial powerplants.

The suit, originally filed in June 1999 by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), an NRDC scientist and three plant employees, alleges that Energy Systems submitted false claims for millions of dollars while failing to store properly and dispose of radioactive and hazardous wastes. The company operated the plant for DOE from 1984 through 1998.

The suit further alleges that Energy Systems made false statements to DOE and government regulators regarding the wastes, and that some of the wastes were improperly disposed of in landfills at the Paducah plant. It states that Energy Systems’ storage and disposal of the wastes violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and that Energy Systems was required by its contract with DOE to comply with that environmental law.

The US government declined to intervene in other allegations contained in the complaint such as that Energy Systems improperly exposed workers to radiation hazards.