After being bandied from pillar to post by the Department Of Energy’s frequent dire warnings of mass layoffs, employees at the American Centrifuge Plant (ACP) in Piketon are expecting the final axe to fall this week.
Even though Congress approved funding to keep Ohio’s uranium enrichment plant open, the Department of Energy (DOE) won’t hand over the cash.
Dave Fosson, Operations Manager at ACP posted on Facebook last week, “Today, the centrifuge cascade continues to operate safely as an engineering marvel just as the gaseous diffusion plants did for decades. This time next week they may all be shut down and prepared for demolition as a result of a Department of Energy’s decision to not use funds approved by congress for continued operation. I’m saddened knowing how adversely the decision could impact so many families and lives and what it means for our nation’s future.”
The DOE’s decision to thumb its nose at Congress will certainly have a detrimental impact in the southern Ohio area. More than 230 Ohioans will lose their jobs, and $28,000,000 in annual wages will be siphoned out of the area’s economy.
Congressman Brad Wenstrup continues his fight to keep the plant open and called for immediate answers from the DOE. “The Department of Energy’s utter failure to guarantee crucial national security resources is appalling,” Wenstrup said, “Their disregard for Congress’s clear direction to preserve this technology is beyond disappointing; it is the clearest sign of a federal bureaucracy taking power into their own hands, regardless of the expressed will of the people. Southern Ohio demands answers, and accountability.”
Wenstrup, along with Senator Rob Portman and Congressman Bill Johnson, drafted a letter to the secretary of the DOE, Ernest Moniz stating, “Continuing operations at Piketon is critical. First, keeping Piketon in operation would further advance the technology. Second, it would maintain a highly-skilled and one-of-a-kind workforce that will be extremely expensive to build up again. Third, it would avoid the costs associated with shuttering the facility and prevent the decommissioning and demolition of hundreds of millions of dollars in advanced technology. All of these benefits would provide great value to the American taxpayer, but can only be achieved by keeping Piketon in operation. Time is of the essence. If the DOE does not decide to renew operations by next week, the contractor at the site will be forced to begin layoffs.”
However, it appears that no amount of cajoling from the Ohio delegation will sway the DOE away from its intention to cease operations at the plant.