August 6, 2014
On July 18,Â The DispatchÂ ran the article “700 could lose jobs at Piketon,” about the potential federal funding cuts to the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant.
It’s true the government sells uranium from its inventory to pay for the cleanup, and major declines in the uranium price are making it more challenging to raise adequate funding for the project.
But the jobs are on the line only because the U.S. Department of Energy, knowing uranium prices are low, failed to budget sufficient dollars for the project.
Uranium Producers of America is not opposed to the accelerated cleanup of the Portsmouth site. We recognize this is a critical priority for the community. Unfortunately, the administration’s budget for fiscal year 2015 did not request full funding for the cleanup. If this project is a priority and the administration wants to save these jobs, I’m confident the department can easily reallocate $150 million in a $27 billion budget to fully fund the cleanup.
Until uranium prices recover, the administration should limit the sales of its uranium inventory and fund the cleanup of the Portsmouth facility though the appropriation process. This will protect the jobs in the short term and ensure taxpayers receive the full value for the uranium in the long term.
Uranium Producers of America
Santa Fe, N.M.