WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following unanimous Senate confirmation of Ernest Moniz, Ph. D. to lead the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) released the following statement:
“Through my conversations with Dr. Moniz, it is clear that he possesses a unique understanding of the importance of Piketon’s American Centrifuge Program and will be a strong partner in seeing the project advance. With the progress we’re seeing from USEC at the ACP, I am hopeful that the company is one step closer to meeting the requirements for a loan guarantee. Under Dr. Moniz’s leadership, I am confident the Department of Energy will continue the Administration’s support for this critical economic development and national security imperative.”
Last month, Brown met Moniz to discuss Ohio priorities and ensure that the American Centrifuge Plant (ACP) in Piketon, which would help create 4,000 jobs in southern Ohio. He also pressed Dr. Moniz to continue the Administration’s support of the cleanup at the DOE site—a project currently employing 2,400 people—and to remain committed to working with community partners and the labor force to ensure the cleanup remains on pace.
Brown worked with Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-MI) to include $150 million for the ACP in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which passed the Senate in Dec. 2012. He also led the effort to include $150 million in DOE resources for the research, development and demonstration (RD&D) program in the Senate-passed highway bill. Brown’s provision provided resources 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 fiscal year 2013.
Brown is working closely with USEC and DOE to advance the American Centrifuge Project. In April 2012, he met with Vice President Biden to urge the Obama Administration to support ACP. Also in 2012, in letters to then-White House Chief of Staff William Daley and then-Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew, 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.
Brown successfully secured $4.4 million over two years for continued cleanup and accelerated the timeline for redevelopment of the Piketon site. In December 2010, Brown urged President Obama to fully fund the cleanup and support the Decommissioning and Decontamination Fund. As a former 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, accelerating the completion date by more than 20 years. As a result of Brown and President Obama's efforts, Piketon received double the amount of cleanup funding, 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 put more than 2,600 Ohioans to work in the region.