President Obama’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 proposal has allocated $322 million for decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) efforts at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, an increase of over 10 percent from the FY 2016 enacted level.
“The redevelopment of Piketon is critical to the future of southern Ohio, and I am encouraged that the President’s budget proposal would ensure that cleanup at the site continues at its current pace and jobs are maintained,” U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown said. “While the proposal is encouraging, we owe it to the community, the workers, and their families to look for ways to fund the project long-term and increase Piketon’s workforce to accelerate cleanup. I’ll continue to work with the local community and my Senate colleagues to support jobs at this plant so future development of the site is a priority.”
The President’s FY 2017 budget calls for $322 million for the plant, which is an increase from last year. In November 2015, Brown wrote to U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget Shaun Donovan urging that the Department of Energy’s FY 2017 budget include $460 million to fully fund ongoing decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) efforts at Piketon.
In October 2015, Brown, along with several members of the Ohio Congressional Delegation, penned a letter to Moniz asking him to include adequate funding for D&D operations in the Administration’s FY 2017 budget request and to maintain employment levels at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion plant using the funding provided by Congress.
After WARN notices were issued last year, Brown worked to ensure that the continuing resolution fully funded D&D operations at the plant through Dec. 11. He also worked with Moniz to guarantee that no layoffs would occur at the plant during that time period. Brown said he has repeatedly urged Senate appropriators to prioritize funding for Piketon.
The project, funded partially by the market sale of enriched uranium and appropriations. That funding plan hit a snag when the bottom fell out of the uranium market and appropriations were cut.
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.