WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a meeting with Vice President Biden today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged the Obama Administration to continue to support the American Centrifuge Plant (ACP) in Piketon. Brown’s request comes despite the failure of the U.S. House of Representatives to, yet again, support the Senate’s efforts to fund the plan. Last month, the U.S. House failed to include critical resources for Piketon through the Department of Energy (DOE) research, development, or deployment (RD&D) program. Brown led the effort to include $150 million in the Senate-passed highway 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 ACP is critical to Southern Ohio’s economy and for our nation’s security,” Brown said. “The bipartisan Senate highway bill creates nearly 2 million jobs, and includes vital funds to help advance the creation of 4,000 jobs in Southern Ohio. The House can and should vote on this legislation. In the meantime, we must keep the project going.”
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.
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. 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.