U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced that Congress has approved critical resources for the American Centrifuge Plant (ACP) in Piketon. Brown worked to include $100 million for ACP in the six-month budget deal passed by the Senate today. Brown is working to ensure that ACP receives support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which would help create 4,000 jobs in southern Ohio.
"The Senate understands how important the American Centrifuge Plant is for our nation's defense and security," Brown said. "That's why these funds received bipartisan and bicameral support. Today's vote not only saves jobs in Piketon, it's means that we're one step closer to the loan guarantee that will create thousands of jobs in southern Ohio."
Earlier this year, Brown led the effort to include $150 million in DOE resources for the research, development, or deployment (RD&D) program in the Senate-passed highway bill. Brown's provision would provide resources in 2012 to help ensure that the ACP is in the strongest position possible to receive a loan guarantee. The RD&D funding will keep Ohioans at work, expedite commercialization of ACP technology, and protect our national security.
Late last year, the Senate proposed -- with support of the Obama Administration -- to include $150 million in RD&D funds for ACP, but the House rejected this bipartisan approach. In December, Brown and U.S. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced a bill to advance the ACP. The bill would provide $150 million in RD&D funds by reprogramming $106 million of existing DOE funds while utilizing $44 million of assets at Piketon in the form of "tails," a byproduct of uranium enrichment.
Brown is working closely with USEC and DOE to advance the American Centrifuge Project. In April, he met with Vice President Biden to urge the Obama Administration to support ACP. Earlier this year, in letters to White House Chief of Staff William Daley and Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew earlier this year, Brown emphasized that an expeditious loan approval process would ensure the domestic enrichment of uranium for national security activities. At the end of 2010, Brown urged the Obama Administration to move forward in approving the loan guarantee for the American Centrifuge Plant (ACP) and to fully fund cleanup at the former Gaseous Diffusion Plant. In 2009, Brown worked with DOE to reach an agreement that resulted in DOE devoting $45 million in new funds to advance the ACP. In October 2010, Brown visited Piketon. One week later, DOE announced that efforts to secure a loan guarantee for USEC have taken a significant step forward. DOE and USEC had reached a framework for further discussions.