The Trump administration intends to invest $115 million over the next three years to reopen a uranium enrichment plant in southern Ohio.
The decision by the U.S. Department of Energy is subject to final approval by federal regulators but could result in 60 new jobs initially, according to an announcement by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
The plant would house a cascade of 16 centrifuges at the former American Centrifuge Project in Piketon.
“Today is another milestone in the effort to get Piketon back up and running doing the work that is so important to our country,” Portman said.
“While there will be a consideration period before this decision is final, I’m encouraged by today’s announcement. Getting Piketon back to its full potential benefits the skilled workforce here, the surrounding local economy, and strengthens national energy and defense security.”
Piketon Mayor Billy Spencer, who worked 39 years as a security employee and then as a security contractor at the Piketon site before retiring last month, welcomed the “good news.”
“Anytime new jobs are created, it’s a good thing,” he said. “This community, southern Ohio, we need some good news, Pike County particularly.”
“I’ve seen this start up twice, this will be the third time. I’m sure these will be good-paying jobs. I hope it is just start and leads to a full cascade” of more centrifuges to enrich uranium for defense needs.
At Portman’s urging,Energy Secretary Rick Perry last year agreed to re–evaluate the Obama administration’s decision to end the domestic uranium enrichment demonstration program that in Piketon.
Portman and others argued that the project was vital to improving the nation’s security.
Previously, Perry said he would continue to prioritize the cleanup work being done at the adjacent Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon. Some 1,800 people work on cleanup of the plant, which stopped enriching uranium through a process called gaseous diffusion in 2001.
Source: The Columbus Dispatch