WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced that the final FY 2018 appropriations bill released today includes an increase in $30 million over last year for the cleanup of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, Ohio. This additional funding is needed to maintain current employment levels for the decontamination and decommissioning work at the Portsmouth Plant as the Department of Energy suspends its barter program for the remainder of FY 2018. Senator Portman received a commitment from Secretary Perry on Tuesday that he would not suspend the Department of Energy’s uranium barter program – which is used to partially fund the cleanup – unless this additional funding was provided in the appropriations bill. Portman issued the following statement:

“The cleanup and redevelopment of this plant is critical for jobs, economic development, and the future of Southern Ohio, and I’m pleased to announce this funding today.  The barter program has resulted in funding uncertainty for the cleanup of the Piketon site, and is not a long-term solution. I’m committed to ensuring there are sufficient resources for the cleanup work at Portsmouth and am pleased that Secretary Perry is committed to supporting long term, stable funding for Piketon.  I want to thank Secretary Perry for keeping his commitments thus far, including visiting the site with me last fall, committing to its cleanup, and reconsidering the Obama administration’s decision to end the domestic uranium enrichment demonstration program.  I will continue to work with my colleagues and the administration to secure the funding necessary to get the site cleaned up and ready for redevelopment.”

NOTE: Portman has consistently worked to secure funding needed to maintain current employment levels for the decontamination and decommissioning work at the plant. On February 23, Portman visited the plan and met with key stakeholders — including Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Ohio EPA, the Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative (SODI), the Site Specific Advisory Board (SSAB), and local and state elected officials — to discuss the future of cleanup activities at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant. During the meeting, Senator Portman announced that he had secured a commitment from DOE to clean up the existing landfills and plumes at the plant. Under questioning from Portman on Tuesday, Secretary Perry – who toured the site with Portman last year – stated that he is re-evaluating the Obama administration’s decision to end the domestic uranium enrichment demonstration program because having domestic enrichment capabilities would provide stability and security to our country.  The demonstration program – known as the American Centrifuge Plant – operated at Piketon until it was disbanded by the Obama administration.