Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant | WOSU Radio

Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant

Nick Evans/WOSU

Students at a Piketon middle school that closed over radiation concerns will attend classes elsewhere next fall.

Crystal Glass attended Zahn's Corner Middle School and grew up near a uranium enrichment plant in Piketon. She got a benign tumor at 14, and cancer years later.
Nick Evans / WOSU

In Waverly, a YMCA gym is lined with poster boards set up on easels. Glen Broughton stands in the middle, looking over a huge three-dimensional map of the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

A photo of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant near Piketon, Ohio, on June 22, 2000. The plant was shuttered in 2001.
David Kohl / Associated Press

The U.S. Department of Energy recently revealed that radioactive materials turned up in air testing results in Piketon from 2017-18, leading to the closure of a local school. Officials argue those traces aren’t a threat to public health.

Nick Evans/WOSU

Radiation concerns have closed a school in southern Ohio despite federal officials’ insistence that the amount of detected materials aren’t a public health concern. However, the county’s cancer rates are among the highest in the state.

Zahn's Middle School was closed amid concerns about radioactive contaminants.
Nick Evans / WOSU

Zahn's Corner Middle School sits on a crest along state Route 220 in Piketon. Ordinarily, the school year would be wrapping up in about a week. But instead of kids, all you hear is the lonely clunk of the halyard as a big American flag flaps in the breeze.

Zahn's Corner Middle School has been closed after uranium was detected inside the school.
Zahn's Corner Middle School / Facebook

A Pike County middle school remains closed over concerns about uranium detected inside the school and another carcinogen detected on school grounds.

Airiel view of The Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant
US Department of Energy

The village of Piketon, in southern Ohio, played a major role during the cold war as the site of a U.S. nuclear weapons plant.  Now Ohio lawmakers want more money to clean up the plant’s nuclear residue.  But Congressional funding disputes are getting tiresome for Piketon workers and residents.