(Office of Rob Portman) -- Today, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, as well as U.S. Representatives Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), visited the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant and former American Centrifuge Project facility in Piketon.
They toured the facilities, met with plant leadership and workers, and discussed the importance of this plant to the local economy and the United States’ national security.
“I was proud to show Secretary Perry the top-notch infrastructure and highly-skilled workforce at Piketon’s biggest employer-the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant," Portman said. "For decades, the workers here provided our military and our energy sector with critical natural resources, including enriched uranium for our country’s nuclear defense system.
"It now employs nearly 2,000 Ohioans through the cleanup effort, which, when finished, will provide the infrastructure and resources to employ thousands more,” said Portman.
“Unfortunately, during the Obama administration, we had to fight every year just to keep these efforts funded and move the project forward. I am pleased that we now have an Energy Secretary and an administration that supports these hardworking Ohioans and their important work. The United States should get back to producing its own enriched uranium, and it is the workers here at Piketon that can make that happen. I will continue to work with Secretary Perry and my colleagues in Congress to advocate for the work happening at the facility as well as its capabilities, and the role it could continue to play in strengthening our national security.”
Portman last visited the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in June. Earlier this year, Portman invited Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to come to Piketon to see firsthand the decontamination and decommissioning operations. During his confirmation hearing, Secretary Perry committed to Portman that he would visit the Portsmouth site. Perry has also agreed that having a domestic capability to enrich uranium is a national security issue and that he is willing to re-evaluate the Obama Administration’s decision to end the domestic uranium enrichment demonstration program.
Portman has worked every year to secure the funding necessary to keep the cleanup project on track and to protect jobs. Previously, Portman grilled former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz for his department’s failure to use funding provided by Congress and therefore causing layoffs in Piketon. Portman repeatedly called on the Obama Administration to uphold their promises to the Piketon community to provide adequate funding to avoid layoffs.