Legislation To Clean Up Piketon Uranium Enrichment Plant Introduced


For Immediate Release

Thursday, October 18, 2007                                                 

Contact: Bethany Lesser

(202) 224-3978


Bill Would Fund Cleanup Effort – Critical First Step To Redevelopment Of Region

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today introduced new legislation to continue the clean up of Piketon’s uranium enrichment plant. The authority for the Uranium Enrichment Decommissioning and Decontamination (D & D) Fund of the Department of Energy (DOE), which currently funds clean up efforts, is set to expire this year. Brown’s legislation would continue funding for the cleanup program for ten more years.

“The D & D fund is a critical first step in the redevelopment of the lower Scioto Valley,” Brown said. “Piketon and the region surrounding the old DOE reservation have been neglected for too long. The people of this community helped America win the Cold War, and then supplied the nuclear power industry for decades.  They deserve clean water, clean air, and clean land.”

Uranium enrichment plants were instrumental in the creation and carrying out of the U.S. nuclear weapons program.  In 1964, the government’s three uranium enrichment plants, located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Paducah, Kentucky, and Piketon, Ohio, also began enriching uranium for commercial use in domestic electricity power plants. 

Congress created the D & D fund as part of the Energy Policy Act of 1992, requiring DOE and the nuclear industry to fund the clean up of the production sites. The D & D Fund has been instrumental in cleaning up the enrichment plants, but the fund expires this year with decades of clean up remaining.

Brown’s legislation would extend the fund for ten years and raise the cap on the maximum amount of money the fund can collect in a year. This proposal would capitalize on the partnership of the industry and DOE to fund the costs for the clean up of the plants. Brown’s bill would also require DOE to study the best way to handle the remaining depleted uranium currently located at the Piketon and Paducah sites.

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