WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today urged the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) new Acting Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management David Huizenga to continue DOE’s work to clean-up the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PORTS) in Piketon.
“A new assistant secretary at the Department of Energy should mean a renewed emphasis on completing the ongoing work at the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon,” Brown said. “I look forward to continuing to work with the Office of Environmental Management to ensure an expedited clean-up of PORTS that will ensure community-directed reuse of the site to generate new economic development in southern Ohio.”
In the letter to Acting Assistant Secretary Huizenga, Brown wrote, “Pike County faces an unemployment rate of more than 15 percent, your efforts putting people to work today and investing in the site’s future is more important than ever. As budgets continue to shrink, the future of the site will rely on your continued focus on maintain the current funding streams and providing a robust decommissioning and decontamination of PORTS, while working with the community.”
In addition to the ongoing clean-up, USEC is currently applying for a government loan guarantee that would help build state-of-the-art uranium enrichment technology at the former DOE Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon. If successful, the ACP could bring as many as 4,000 construction jobs and 400 long-term, full-time jobs to Piketon.
Brown is working closely with USEC and DOE to ensure facilitated coordination efforts for the American Centrifuge Project. At the end of 2010, Brown urged the Obama Administration to move forward in approving the loan guarantee for the ACP and to fully fund cleanup at the former Gaseous Diffusion Plant. In February 2010, 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. A week later, DOE announced that efforts to secure a loan guarantee for USEC have taken a significant step forward and that DOE and USEC had reached a framework for further discussions. In December 2010, Brown called on the administration to fully fund the Piketon Cleanup.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Brown has led the fight in Congress to accelerate the Piketon clean-up and to create new jobs. He successfully secured an expedited timeframe for the clean-up, moving the completion date up by more than 20 years. As a result of Brown and President Obama’s efforts, Piketon doubled the amount of cleanup funding that they received, including $118 million in cleanup funds through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. President Obama’s FY 2011 budget request also includes nearly $500 million for the project.
Full text of the letter can be found here.