The authority for the Uranium Enrichment Decommissioning and Decontaminat-ion Fund of the Department of Energy, which funds clean-up efforts, is set to expire this year.
Brown's legislation would continue funding for the cleanup program for 10 more years.
“The D & D fund is a critical first step in the redevelopment of the lower Scioto Valley,” Brown said. “Piketon and the region surrounding the old DOE reservation have been neglected for too long. The people of this community helped America win the Cold War and then supplied the nuclear power industry for decades. They deserve clean water, clean air and clean land.”
The U.S. Department of Energy owns the plant and leases it to the United States Enrichment Corp.
Uranium enrichment plants in the past were instrumental in the creation and carrying out of the U.S. nuclear weapons program. In 1964, the government's three uranium enrichment plants, located in Oak Ridge, Tenn., Paducah, Ky., and Piketon, also began enriching uranium for commercial use in domestic electricity power plants.
Congress created the D & D fund as part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992, requiring DOE and the nuclear industry to fund the cleanup of the production sites.
The fund has been instrumental in cleaning up the enrichment plants. But Brown said there are decades of cleanup work left.
Brown's legislation would extend the fund for 10 years and raise the cap on the maximum amount of money the fund can collect in a year.
The proposal would capitalize on the partnership of the industry and DOE to fund costs for the cleanup of the plants.
Brown's bill also would require DOE to study the best way to handle the remaining depleted uranium located at the Piketon and Paducah sites.
JEFF BARRON can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.