Federal budget bill passes, Piketon funding included

By Wayne Allen - [email protected]

On Friday, the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill.

Included in the bill is funding for Decontaminating and Decommissioning (D&D) and the American Centrifuge Plant (ACP) in Piketon.

There was $100 million in the spending bill slated for ACP and $250 million allocated for D&D.

In the funding allocated for D&D $203 million is allocated towards operating and just under $22 million for capital projects. The capital dollars would go towards the construction of an onsite waste disposal facility.

According to Fluor-BWXT they are projecting $154 million in barter in 2016. The company will carry over $20 million from the previous year, which equips the company with about $377 million is operating dollars.

Officials with D&D contractor Fluor-BWXT declined comment until the president is able to sign the spending bill into law.

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has announced it will end the American Centrifuge Test Demonstration and Operation (ACTDO) activity at Piketon, potentially resulting in the layoffs of 200 Centrus Energy Corp. employees.

With a reduction in funding by the federal government, Centrus Energy Corp. announced 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.

The would be up to DOE to allocate the funding to Centrus Energy for continued operations or not.

The $100 million set aside for ACP will be divided, $50 million in direct appropriations, which the Department had previously stated it would use to support critical centrifuge research and testing at Centrus’ facilities in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

The legislation also authorizes the Department to continue operating America’s only industrial-scale cascade of advanced centrifuges – located in Piketon, Ohio – by providing authority to use an additional $50 million from other accounts in the Department’s budget.

“This legislation reflects a broad, bipartisan consensus about the need for a domestic uranium enrichment technology,” Centrus President and Chief Executive Officer, Daniel B. Poneman, said. “Centrus looks forward to continuing the essential work we are doing to support America’s national security and is grateful to the Members and staff from both parties and both houses of Congress who have helped advance this funding through this legislation in support of the President’s budget.”

According to Centrus, absent a decision to utilize the newly passed reprogramming authority, Centrus will need to begin demobilization of the centrifuge activities at Piketon early next year, including dismantling the centrifuge cascade and implementing workforce reductions.

Local, state and federal lawmakers applauded the passage of the spending and the funds allocated to projects in Piketon.

By Wayne Allen

[email protected]

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT