Piketon ex-uranium enrichment plant safety checks upped in Tim Ryan bill


An excavator at the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon. Congressman Tim Ryan, D-Howland, has introduced a bill that would provide resources and protections to the community as the former uranium enrichment plant is torn down.

If a bill passes the House of Representative next week, it could mean more precautions for a southeastern Ohio community that is dealing with the dismantling of a former uranium enrichment plant.

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, announced on Monday that he garnered support in the House Appropriations Committee’s Energy and Water Subcommittee for the bill.

“(Ryan) has advocated directly with leaders in Congress and the Biden administration to clean up our community safely, and to invest to create good-paying jobs in Pike County for generations. Now, his work has put DOE on notice that they have to work closely with our community and do right by our families that dutifully served our nation for decades,” said Pike County Commissioner Jerry Miller in a statement.

The decontamination and decommissioning schedule for the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion plant in Piketon, Ohio.

Demolition began in May of one of the three structures used during the plant’s operation to enrich uranium for atomic weapons beginning in 1954. The atomic bomb that was dropped in Hiroshima, Japan, in 1945 was made with the same grade of highly-enriched uranium formerly made at the plant. The plant ceased to make uranium for weapons in 2001.

Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland Township

“For decades, the people of Southern Ohio worked tirelessly to ensure our nation had the resources to win the Cold War. Our government owes it to this community to ensure the Gaseous Diffusion Plant is decommissioned safely and transparently,” Ryan said in a released statement. “The Department of Energy cannot be allowed to cut any corners when it comes to Ohioans’ safety and long-term health.”

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The bill, if approved, would grant $500,000 for the benefit of the community, and the following measures would be required from the U.S. Department of Energy:

www.dispatch.com2021-07-20 09:57:11

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