The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development has announced $266 million for decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) operations at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon.
U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) said the funding will protect local jobs and continue the cleanup process.
“Ongoing cleanup at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant will ensure that this site can attract future investment and continue to serve the community,” Brown said. “This funding level is just the first step in the appropriations process, but is a good place to start to keep jobs in southern Ohio. I’ll do my part to ensure that the Piketon community gets the support and certainty it needs.”
Brown said he has worked to maintain jobs at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant by calling on Senate Appropriators to fund the plant this year and over the last several years. Last December, Brown successfully urged his colleagues to support funding of the site in the year-end appropriations bill. After WARN notices were issued last year, he worked to ensure that the continuing resolution fully funded D&D operations at the plant through Dec. 11. He also worked with Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz to guarantee that no layoffs would occur at the plant during that time period.
Things became dicey when the funding sources began to go south last year. The D&D project had been funded by a combination of uranium sales and appropriations, but when the bottom fell out of the uranium market and appropriations were cut, Piketon officials and members of the Ohio Delegation in Washington began to call for the DOE to fund the entire project.
In August, Brown wrote to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee urging full funding of D&D operations at Piketon in the FY 2016 appropriations bill. He also wrote to appropriators in March 2015 requesting the funding.