WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following bipartisan efforts in the Senate to keep Piketon’s American Centrifuge Plant (ACP) afloat, the U.S. House of Representatives failed to include critical resources for Piketon through the Department of Energy (DOE) research, development, or deployment (RD&D) program. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) led the effort to include $150 million in the Senate-passed bill to help ensure that the ACP is in the strongest position possible to receive a loan guarantee from DOE, which would help create 4,000 jobs in Southern Ohio.
“The House can and should vote on the Senate highway bill which passed with strong bipartisan support, creates nearly 2 million jobs, and includes vital funds to help advance the creation of 4,000 jobs in Southern Ohio. The ACP is critical to southern Ohio’s economy and for our nation’s security,” Brown said. “The House kicked the can down the road instead of taking up a bipartisan bill that will save and create of jobs in Southern Ohio. We’ve seen bipartisan support for ACP in the Senate. It’s time for the House to follow suit.”
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 Research, Development & Deployment funds for the ACP.
Late last year, the Senate proposed, with support of the Obama Administration, to include $150 million in Research Development & Deployment 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. 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.