WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced a framework for USEC and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that will advance critical resources for the American Centrifuge Plant (ACP) in Piketon. The framework includes a cost-sharing agreement, providing the ACP with resources for research, development, and deployment (RD&D) funds by utilizing “tails,” a byproduct of uranium enrichment, and self-funding from USEC. Brown is working to ensure that ACP receives critical support which will help advance the creation of 4,000 jobs in southern Ohio.
“The Department of Energy understands how important the ACP is to our nation’s security and Ohio’s economy,” Brown said. “I commend the Department of Energy and USEC for working together on a path towards job creation and greater accountability. This federal investment will ensure that the Piketon community is on a path towards continued job creation and economic growth.”
According to DOE, the cooperative agreement outlines a two-year RD&D plan to build out and test plant systems at ACP. In the first year, DOE will provide approximately $88 million by taking title to and disposal responsibility of depleted uranium tails from USEC. USEC will provide an additional $22 million in the first phase of the project, representing a 20 percent cost share.
Last month, Brown worked with Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) to include $150 million for ACP in the Senate Fiscal Year 2013 Defense Authorization (NDAA), passed by the Committee. Brown led the effort to include $150 million in DOE resources for the RD&D program in the Senate-passed highway bill. Brown’s provision would provide resources in 2013 to help ensure that the ACP is in the strongest position possible to receive a loan guarantee. The RD&D funding will keep Ohioans at work, expedite commercialization of ACP technology, and protect our national security. President Obama’s budget, proposed earlier this year, includes $150 million in RD&D funds for the ACP for 2013. The Senate passed $150 million for RD&D of ACP in 2013, while the House passed $100 million for the project next year.
Late last year, the Senate proposed – with support of the Obama Administration – to include $150 million in RD&D funds for ACP, but the House rejected this bipartisan approach. In December, Brown and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced a bill to advance the ACP. The bill would provide $150 million in RD&D funds by reprogramming $106 million of existing DOE funds while utilizing $44 million of assets at Piketon in the form of tails.
Brown is working closely with USEC and DOE to advance the American Centrifuge Project. In April, he met with Vice President Biden to urge the Obama Administration to support ACP. Earlier this year, in letters to White House Chief of Staff William Daley and Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew earlier this year, Brown emphasized that an expeditious loan approval process would ensure the domestic enrichment of uranium for national security activities. At the end of 2010, Brown urged the Obama Administration to move forward in approving the loan guarantee for the American Centrifuge Plant (ACP) and to fully fund cleanup at the former Gaseous Diffusion Plant. In 2009, Brown worked with DOE to reach an agreement that resulted in DOE devoting $45 million in new funds to advance the ACP. In October 2010, Brown visited Piketon. One week later, DOE announced that efforts to secure a loan guarantee for USEC have taken a significant step forward. DOE and USEC had reached a framework for further discussions.