U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Ed Whitfield made the following statement Friday following a meeting with Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to discuss the future of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant:
"We appreciate Energy Secretary Steven Chu responding to our request for a plan for the future of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. In our meeting, Secretary Chu pledged to explore all avenues to extend the 1,200 jobs at stake in Paducah, and we thank him for laying out multiple short-term options. Secretary Chu stated that new legislation would not be required to pursue re-enrichment at the Paducah plant and that the authority rests with the Administration, with the market analysis of the domestic uranium mining, conversion, and enrichment industries needing to be completed immediately. Additionally, Secretary Chu committed to engage directly with all stakeholders to work toward an agreement in the next 30 days in an attempt to provide employees some certainty about the future of the plant. Although our meeting today did not provide the ultimate answers everyone at the plant is anxious to hear, we are pleased with the assurances by the Administration that they will now fully engage with all stakeholders to find a solution. As operator of the enrichment facility, we expect USEC also will work with DOE to find a way to extend these jobs. And, going forward, we await DOE's long-term plans for the Paducah site. "