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Omnibus to include ACP and D&D funding

Portsmouth Daily Times

One hundred million dollars has been appropriated for the American Centrifuge Project (ACP) in an Omnibus Budget Bill currently being crafted in Washington D.C., according to Bryan Davis, Scioto County Commissioner.

A Continuing Resolution (CR) was passed by federal lawmakers, funding government operations and programs until Dec. 11.

Davis said he had a conversation with a representative from Congressman Brad Wenstrup’s office, who informed him of the appropriation.

“They are working very, very hard to get the language in the omnibus spending bill, specifically about ACP. The language is in the bill, as long as it survives the energy and water committee. Representative (Bill) Johnson and Wenstrup are meeting with Chairman (Mike) Simpson on that,” Davis said. “There will be an appropriation of $100 million to support continuing operations (at ACP).”

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) has announced it will end the American Centrifuge Test Demonstration and Operation (ACTDO) activity at Piketon, potentially resulting in the layoffs of 200 Energy Corp. employees.

With a reduction in funding by the federal government, Centrus Energy Corp. announced their new reduced contract with Oak Ridge National Laboratory will not include continued operations of America’s only operating cascade of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges in Piketon.

Davis said if everything works out and the budget bill is approved for ACP, it would be up to DOE to appropriate the funding.

He said a similar story could be told about funding for Decontamination and Decommissioning (D&D) work on the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon.

“They were concerned (with D&D funding) yes, but not as worried as much as they were for ACP,” Davis said. “As far as I can tell, our senators and congressmen are working very hard in Washington to make this happen.”

Earlier this year, D&D Contractor Fluor-BWXT issued WARN notice to 500 D&D workers, because on an anticipated $80 million dollar budget shortfall.

Fluor-BWXT has since rescinded the notices under the direction of DOE.

Recently, the commissioners of Scioto, Pike, Ross, Lawrence, Adams and Jackson counties have signed letters addressed to United States Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz asking for funds to support programs in Piketon.

Each of the letters expresses the same message and urgency in finding enough funding to continue ACP and D&D programs.

Davis said he is of the understanding another CR would be approved by law makers, with an Omnibus Budget Bill introduced Tuesday, with a vote scheduled for next Friday.

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