Carr addresses funding

Crews set the first of four “cold boxes” at a feed facility at the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant. The cold boxes are used in the process to transfer Uranium Hexafluoride (UF6) gas from heavy-heel cylinders into new UF6 cylinders. This enhanced process improves the efficiency and output of recovered UF6 in a uranium barter program that supports cleanup funding.

Last week, the United States House of Representatives and Senate approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill.

Included in the bill is funding for continued Decontaminating and Decommissioning (D&D) operations and the American Centrifuge Plant (ACP) in Piketon.

On Sunday, Dennis Carr, Site Project Director for D&D Contractor Fluor-BWXT sent a memo to employees addressing funding.

“I am pleased to inform you that this funding bill, when combined with the forecasted barter proceeds at the current market pricing, will provide an adequate level of funding to sustain our project momentum and avoid any significant impacts to our workforce for the remainder of this FY (Fiscal Year). This should be seen as great news and a direct reflection of the confidence the Department of Energy and Congress have placed in the ability of our workforce to safely deliver on our cleanup mission,” Carr wrote. “No one on this project should take this funding, and the confidence placed in us, for granted. We must continue to earn the support we have garnered by safely delivering on our cleanup commitments,”

In the $250 million allocated for D&D $203 million is allocated towards operating and just under $22 million for capital projects. The capital dollars would go towards the construction of an onsite waste disposal facility.

“While the requested funding for the Onsite Waste Disposal Facility was significantly reduced from $35M to $21.7M in the Omnibus, this funding level will permit us to complete the design, the clearing of the trees from the facility footprint and begin installation of the necessary utilities, fencing and storm water controls,” Carr said.

According to Fluor-BWXT they are projecting $154 million in barter in 2016. The company will carry over $20 million from the previous year, which equips the company with about $377 million in operating dollars.

Carr attributed obtaining the level of funding to support from individuals and individuals within and outside of the plant.

“Gaining this level of funding and support did not happen by chance. A great number of individuals and organizations stepped up to help in our fight for funding. Were it not for their efforts almost a third of our workforce would have been impacted and facing a very difficult new year,” Carr said. “We also owe a big thank you to the Ohio Congressional delegation including Senators Brown and Portman, Congressmen Johnson, Wenstrup and Stivers, and Congresswoman Kaptur of Toledo; our county commissioners from Pike, Scioto, Jackson, Ross, Adams and Lawrence counties; a number of local business leaders and organizations; members of the PORTS SSAB and SODI; and perhaps most notably our USW and SPFPA union leadership led by Herman Potter and Paul Davis. For the past seven months they have tirelessly and effectively worked in a unified manner for the single goal of closing the more than $80M funding gap confronting our project and avoiding the a layoff of more than 500 of our project staff. If you get an opportunity, please thank these deserving individuals and organizations.”

The spending bill also included $100 million for the continued operation of the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon.

The funding would be up to DOE to allocate the funding to Centrus Energy for continued operations or not.

The $100 million set aside for ACP will be divided, $50 million in direct appropriations, which the Department had previously stated it would use to support critical centrifuge research and testing at Centrus’ facilities in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

The legislation also authorizes DOE to continue operating America’s only industrial-scale cascade of advanced centrifuges – located in Piketon, Ohio – by providing authority to use an additional $50 million from other accounts in the Department’s budget.

It’s uncertain if DOE will fund the continued ACP operations in Piketon.

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT