By Wayne Allen
Earlier this week President Barack Obama released his budget proposal for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015. In the request Obama has over $200 going to Fluor-B&W Portsmouth for their continued Decontamination and Decommissioning (D&D) work in Piketon.
In an email to stakeholders of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant on Thursday, Candice Trummell, Chief of Staff and Acting Director of External Affairs in the Office of Environmental Management of the U.S. Department of Energy stated, “as you may know, the Administration’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 budget request includes $221.8 million for continued cleanup at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (GDP) site in Piketon, Ohio. This funding level provides the resources needed to continue important decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) activities and to continue operation of the depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) plant that is converting DUF6 to more stable and beneficial forms.”
Trummell stated the funding for FY 15 is also supported by the value of uranium.
Recently Dennis Carr Fluor-B&W Site Project Director expressed some concerns over the fluctuating market price of uranium.
“We went from the Christmas of 2012 we were selling uranium $121 a kilogram now we are selling at somewhere around $97-$99 a kilogram. So, we’ve lost $33 million of barter capability,” Carr said.
Trummell stated the presidents budget request includes an increase of over $22 million from FY 2014 enacted to offset reduced revenues reflecting current uranium prices.
“The President’s budget request also provides funding for the potential construction of the On-Site Waste Disposal facility at the Portsmouth site, subject to the current ongoing decision making process and the final Record of Decision scheduled,” Trummell stated.
Carr said in 2013 Fluor-B&W Portsmouth was the largest shipper of materials from the Department of Energy to the Nevada Nuclear Security Site.
“This year (2014) we will double that. We will not only be the largest shipper, but we will be a shipper larger than the rest of the other (Department Of Energy) sites combined. We are a substantial shipper of waste,” Carr said.
Carr said there is an average between 15 and 20 shipments a week.
He said Fluor-B&W Portsmouth is working with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on records of decision regarding a cleanup path.
“We’ve been working very diligently with the Ohio EPA to resolved their comments on a wast disposition decision. I think we’ve come to an understanding and we are intending to resubmit that document at the end of this month (February),” Carr said. “Ultimately we see in the May or June time period, proposed plans coming out to the public. We’ve talked about this for years and I think the time is this year.”
Carr said he thinks the records of decision will be released from the EPA in August or September.
“With that (records of decision) we would move toward the implementation of those records of decision. Should they include onsite disposal, we’ve progressed with a preliminary design and we’ll hold on detailed design until we have the decision,” Carr said. “If it is the selected alternative we would proceed with construction next calendar year.”
Trummell stated the budget request if approved should be enough to continue the ongoing D&D work in Piketon.
“The Department (of Energy) views the ongoing cleanup as a good investment at an important time in the site’s D&D schedule. The FY 2015 budget request allows the D&D project to move forward while re-aligning site resources to reflect the evolving work scope,” Trummell stated.
The presidents budget will now be sent to congress and the senate for review.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT