By Frank Lewis
Centrus Energy, Inc. has approximately 235 employees at the Piketon site working on the American Centrifuge project and, according to spokesman Jeremy Derryberry, those are the employees that received the WARN notices last week, so they all face the potential of being laid off starting in mid-November at the earliest.
Derryberry told the Daily Times, the remaining workers at the Piketon site support the corporation as a whole, mostly in accounting, procurement and IT functions.
Those layoffs are the result of an announcement by the U.S. Department of Energy that the Piketon project would end as of Sept. 30, 2015.
The largest number of employees involved, a full 31 percent, are from Scioto County. Twenty-six percent live in Piketon, 21 percent in Ross County, while 7 percent reside in Jackson County and 3 percent in Adams County. The remaining 12 percent live in 14 other counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan.
Derryberry confirmed the total payroll, excluding benefits, in 2014 was $28.5 million or $82,103 per employee.
With the reduction in funding by the federal government, Centrus announced on Friday, Sept. 11, their new reduced contract with Oak Ridge National Laboratory will not include continued operations of America’s only operating cascade of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges in Piketon.
Funding will be reduced by approximately 60 percent to $35 million per year, and the scope of activities will be limited to development activities at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
At the same time, Centrus confirmed that Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) has informed Centrus that it intends to extend its contract with the Company at a reduced level for research on the world’s most advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges. DOE’s decision to provide reduced funding will support continued developments of the company’s American Centrifuge technology which company officials say has long-term importance for national and energy security.
Simultaneously, Pike County officials are scrambling to put their fingers in the dam, the funding has been cut drastically for the decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) project as well. That project, operated by Fluor BWXT, and sub contractors is the project that involves cleaning up the old Gaseous Diffusion plant to prepare that facility for reindustrialization. WARN Act notices have already been sent to employees on that project as well as the ACP project.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.