Washington, D.C. –Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) as well as Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH-02) urged Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shaun Donovan to fully fund decontamination and decommissioning operations at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, Ohio. In a letter to Donovan, the lawmakers expressed concern over volatility in the global uranium market and urged the Administration to fully fund cleanup in their Fiscal Year 2016 budget.

“As a delegation, we have repeatedly urged the Department of Energy to present a comprehensive management plan that fulfills the Secretarial commitment to the community,” the lawmakers wrote. “This plan should not rely upon the vagaries of the global uranium market.  Clean-up and restoration work is critically important to southern Ohio, and merits your immediate attention to ensure financial stability, fulfill the federal obligation to the community, and sustain productivity at the site.”

The letter was also signed my Reps. Steve Chabot (R-OH-01), Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Bob Latta (R-OH-05), Jim Renacci (R-OH-16), Bill Johnson (R-OH-06), Steve Stivers (R-OH-15), Bob Gibbs (R-OH-07), Dave Joyce (R-OH-14) , Mike Turner (R-OH-10), Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12), and Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-09). 

Text of the letter can be found here and below.

Dear Director Donovan:

The Ohio delegation respectfully requests that the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget fully fund decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) operations at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, Ohio.

As you know, in recent years, D&D cleanup operations at the site have been supplemented by the sale of excess uranium. Volatility in the global uranium market has resulted in projected financial shortfalls at the site which threatened progress on the cleanup and led to the issuance of WARN notices to hundreds of workers. Thankfully, Congress and the Department of Energy were able to avert this crisis in FY 15. However, this experience makes it clear that robust funding for D&D operations at the site are more necessary now than ever before. 

 The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Environmental Management is the federal agency responsible for cleanup of former DOE gaseous diffusion plants. In 2009, Secretary Chu made a commitment to the Piketon, OH, community to accelerate cleanup and complete the work by 2024. The project currently employees 1,900 individuals and is critical to the economy of Pike, Ross, Scioto, and Jackson counties.

As a delegation, we have repeatedly urged the Department of Energy to present a comprehensive management plan that fulfills the Secretarial commitment to the community.  This plan should not rely upon the vagaries of the global uranium market.  Clean-up and restoration work is critically important to southern Ohio, and merits your immediate attention to ensure financial stability, fulfill the federal obligation to the community, and sustain productivity at the site. 

On behalf of the Ohio delegation, we sincerely appreciate your consideration of this request to fully fund D&D of the DOE gaseous diffusion plant at Piketon, OH.

###