February 22, 2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Ohio Congressional delegation sent the following letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu urging the Department of Energy to work as quickly as possible to complete its review of USEC’s application for a loan guarantee to construct the American Centrifuge Project’s uranium enrichment plant. The following are statements from Senator Portman and Senator Brown and the text of the letter:
“At a time when the unemployment rate in Pike County is nearly 15 percent, the federal government needs to act quickly to get this project rolling. This project will create close to 4,000 jobs in Southern Ohio, while creating an American source for fuel, an important part of our energy future,” said Senator Rob Portman, who will be visiting the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon today to receive an update from plant employees and leadership and to meet with members of the local United Steel Workers who work at the Piketon facility. Portman will also talk about how his seat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee can shape policies that promote private sector growth throughout the region.
“The Department of Energy has already made unprecedented investments in Piketon over the last two years – approving funds for cleaning up the site and advancing the American Centrifuge Project. The next step is finalizing USEC’s loan guarantee,” Brown said. “USEC’s American Centrifuge Project will create thousands of Ohio jobs that are critical to this region. I am committed to fighting for this loan guarantee and will continue to work with the Administration to ensure the project’s success. After Recovery Act and other funds helped move the cleanup date of the Piketon site forward by 20 years, we must make ACP a part of Piketon’s future.”
Text of letter is below:
February 22, 2011
The Honorable Steven Chu
Secretary of Energy
U.S. Department of Energy
1000 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20585
Dear Mr. Secretary:
Thank you for working with us to promote the best interests of Piketon, the State of Ohio, and our nation. We write to you in regard to a key employer in our state, USEC, Inc. Specifically, we write to urge the Department of Energy (DOE) to work as quickly as possible to complete its review of USEC’s application for a loan guarantee to construct the American Centrifuge Project’s uranium enrichment plant.
The American Centrifuge Project offers a unique capability for the United States and is worthy of national priority. It will increase our energy security by providing a long-term domestic source of enriched uranium for our nation’s nuclear power plants, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 10,000,000 tons per year, and supporting important national security and nonproliferation functions of our government.
We know that your decision must be based on technical and financial factors. Ensuring that the centrifuge plant can operate reliably and protecting the interests of the American taxpayers are key priorities, but we hope that you will do everything in your power to bring this process to a rapid completion.
This project will create an enormous number of jobs at a time when unemployment in Ohio is 9.6% and in Pike County, where this project would be located, is at 14.8%. According to USEC, development of the project will create nearly 8,000 manufacturing and construction jobs – equal to the total number of jobs created by all the loan guarantees previously issued under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
Given the length of time this application has been pending, and given the tremendous technical progress that has been demonstrated to date, we believe a conditional commitment would be appropriate for this loan guarantee. We hope that you will explore the execution of such a commitment on terms agreeable to both the Department of Energy and USEC. While progress has been made, it is imperative that the remaining work move more quickly. Timing of DOE action on the loan guarantee is critical to the future of this project.Thank you for your consideration. We appreciate the support the Administration has provided to date, and we look forward to working with you on this critical national priority to improve our energy infrastructure and support job creation.