WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rob Portman (R-OH) met today with U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu to discuss two pending loan guarantees to advance USEC’s American Centrifuge Project (ACP) and to bring CODA Automotive’s manufacturing site to central Ohio.
“I am fully committed to Piketon and the ACP. And today’s meeting reaffirmed that the Department of Energy wants them to succeed as well,” Brown said. “Sec. Chu reiterated that if USEC can deliver on its technology and finances, it will get the loan guarantee. The DOE site in Piketon has come a long way in just a few years. More than 2,500 people are working on the cleanup with more jobs on the way. With USEC’s application advancing, we are making the site the economic powerhouse it once was.”
USEC’s application for a government loan guarantee would help build state of the art uranium enrichment technology at the former Department of Energy (DOE) Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, Ohio. If successful, the ACP could bring as many as 4000 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 American Centrifuge Plant (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. DOE and USEC had reached a framework for further discussions. In December, Brown called on the administration to fully fund the Piketon Cleanup.
A member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Brown has led the fight in Congress to accelerate the Piketon cleanup and to create new jobs. He successfully secured an expedited timeframe for the cleanup, 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. Federal funds for Piketon will have helped to create more than 275 jobs in the region.
CODA Automotive – a California-based company that produces electric cars – announced last spring that it planned locate a plant in Columbus that would build lithium ion batteries for electric cars. Expected to create 1,000 jobs in Ohio, the plant is contingent on a pending loan guarantee application through the DOE Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan (ATVM) program.
“CODA is on the front lines of innovation in manufacturing which is one of the many reasons why central Ohio is the perfect home for their plant,” Brown said. “Not just a center for innovation, Ohio is a national leader for clean energy component manufacturing for the auto industry. I will continue to work with central Ohio leaders in both the public and private sectors and continue pushing the Obama administration to make achieve the goal of landing CODA in Columbus.”
Brown is working to ensure that the project—expected to create up to 1,328 jobs after five years of operation— obtains the necessary site and incentives approvals. A coordinated Ohio team, including Sen. Brown, then-Governor Ted Strickland, Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman, the Columbus Partnership, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, The Ohio State University, Franklin County and other local leaders, met with the company throughout 2010 to discuss CODA’s needs before reaching an agreement contingent upon the approvals of state incentives.