WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded the U.S. House of Representatives action to defeat a provision to strip funding for the American Centrifuge Plant (ACP) in Piketon. After Brown called key members of leadership, the House voted down the Pearce-Markey amendment this morning that would have eliminated federal resources for ACP in 2013. Brown is working to ensure that ACP receives support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) which would help create 4,000 jobs in southern Ohio.
“Today’s vote shows strong support—from both parties and both chambers—for the role Piketon plays in our nation’s security,” Brown said. “Defeating this provision is a good step forward. Now, as the House and Senate conference committee finalizes the highway bill, the House must accept the resources passed in the Senate version of the bill that would keep ACP running this year so that we can become closer to realizing the 4,000 jobs that could be created in Southern Ohio.”
Brown led the effort to include $150 million in DOE resources for the research, development, or deployment (RD&D) program in the Senate-passed highway bill. Brown’s provision would provide resources in 2012 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,” a byproduct of uranium enrichment.
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.