A Thank You to Piketon
Washington, February 29, 2016
Thank you. Thank you to all the hard working employees who have labored over the years on securing our nation’s uranium enrichment independence. The project has had different names across different decades, but the mission never changed: supply America with a domestically owned source of enriched uranium.
This mission started in the throes of the Cold War, and extended into the 21st Century. When the United States was facing an existential threat of nuclear war with the Soviet Union, we got to work. The Gaseous Diffusion Plant – 10 million square feet – was built ahead of schedule and under budget. These days, thanks to government regulation, an environmental review can take longer to complete than the project itself.
I’ve met current employees who can name which building their grandfather labored in 50 years ago. Whether you called it the A-plant, Piketon, Portsmouth, or the ACP, there is an earned pride in the work that’s taken place to protect and project American strength.
Unfortunately, after more than half a century, this Administration couldn’t continue that commitment. Every year, Congress fought for and secured funding to continue the next generation of uranium enrichment. This was done to ensure that we sustain a domestically owned source of enrichment. Our Navy and nuclear arsenal require it. Our military and strength demands it.
Now, the Department of Energy, with a blind eye to global realities, is shutting down our successful operations. They plan on dismantling and destroying the machines or shipping them down to Tennessee for storage. We can’t just suspend the skilled workforce until it is needed again. This decision is not a reflection on our work force, but of an administration that has broken faith with the people of Piketon.
My commitment to you is that this is not the end of the story for Piketon. The Piketon facility is a tremendous asset, and our skilled workforce in the region is an enviable asset to any company or project. I will continue to work with community leaders to find new opportunities for Southern Ohio.
Here we have witnessed generations of work in the service of our nation. All have performed admirably. The legacy of this region is one of national strength and a devoted American workforce. Thank you.
Congressman Brad Wenstrup represents Pike County as part of Ohio’s Second Congressional District.