The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant: A Case Study Into State Corporate Crime

Paul J. Becker, Morehead State University
Alan S. Bruce, Quinnipiac University

Between 1953 and 1976, approximately 103,000 metric tons of irradiated uranium was processed at the Paducah Gaseous plant in Paducah, Kentucky. The plant was only designed to handle low levels of uranium, therefore exposing unsuspecting workers to dangerous levels of radiation. During the cold war, radioactive and toxic materials were secretly processed in private and government owned companies throughout the United States for the nuclear weapons program. This paper, using one of those companies, will present a case study into state initiated corporate crime. How the story was discovered, the impact on the workers and the community, the ongoing legal and medical issues, and how this case ties in with the larger picture nationally will be some of the topics addressed. This study will make an important contribution to the growing awareness of the role of the state in corporate crime and deviance.

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Updated 05/20/2006