WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) announced that the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to authorize critical resources for the American Centrifuge Plant (ACP) in Piketon. Brown worked with Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) to include $150 million for ACP in the Senate Fiscal Year 2013 Defense Authorization (NDAA), passed today by the Committee. 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.
“The ACP is critical for our nation’s security and our state’s economy,” Brown said. “We’ve now seen a bipartisan support and commitment to Piketon for next year in both the House and Senate. However, we can’t forget that critical funds to keep the project alive this year are still up in the air. While the Senate included $150 million for ACP in its version of the highway bill, the House has still not passed funds for ACP for 2012. As the House and Senate conference committee finalizes the highway bill, it’s critical that the House accept these vital funds which get us one step closer to the 4,000 jobs that the ACP could create.”
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.