U.S. Senator George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio) issued a statement today on the ceremony for initial operation of the new depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) conversion facility at the Piketon site in Portsmouth, Ohio:
"I am thrilled that the DUF6 facility was operational in June," Sen. Voinovich said. "Since my days as governor and now as senator, I've worked diligently with the Piketon community to clean up the site and to fight for jobs, funding and opportunities for this area of Ohio. This is the culmination of many years of work and I am happy to see this success."
Actions by Sen. Voinovich to complete the DUF6 facility in Piketon:
* Legislation passed in August 1999 authorized the federal government to build reprocessing facilities in Portsmouth, Ohio and Paducah, Ky. Although the senator urged the administration and then U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham to ensure adequate funding to implement the intent of the legislation, in 2002 the Department of Energy (DOE) budget only included funding for one conversion plant, with a provision that the second plant would be built in the following fiscal year.
* Sen. Voinovich was successful in convincing the administration to include funding for two plants as Congress had intended. As a result, DOE signed a $558 million contract in August 2002 with Uranium Disposition Services, a joint venture, to build and operate both plants. DOE initiated building the new DUF6 conversion facilities starting in 2004.
* Construction of the Piketon plant created 300 new jobs. The Piketon plant is expected to employ 150 to200 plant operations over the next 25 to30 years.
Senator Voinovich has been working to shape nuclear energy policy in the United States for the past decade as both chairman and ranking member on the Clean Air and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee. He has oversight responsibility over the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and has held a number of nuclear energy roundtables with representatives from organized labor, industry, academia, professional societies and government agencies to discuss the huge opportunity nuclear energy provides for the expansion of manufacturing and creation of jobs in Ohio.
Sen. Voinovich continues to believe that nuclear power is the only real alternative we have today to produce enough low-cost, reliable, clean energy to remove harmful pollutants from the air, prevent the harmful effects of global climate change and keep good jobs from going overseas. And, at a time when we are struggling to regain our economic footing, Ohio's manufacturing industry has an incredible opportunity when it comes to nuclear energy. Nuclear energy offers thousands of well-paying jobs in all stages of development and production.
To read more about Sen. Voinovich's commitment to securing the future of nuclear enrichment in Piketon, please see the senator's 2009 annual report.
To read the senator's remarks from his visit to Piketon from June 2009 please visit, http://voinovich.senate.gov.