U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) announced on Monday that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) intends to invest $115 million over the next three years to produce a cascade of 16 centrifuges at the former American Centrifuge Project (ACP) at Piketon.
The cascade is to demonstrate the production of high assay low enriched uranium (HALEU), which, according to Portman's office, will be the fuel source for advanced nuclear reactors. The investment could potentially result in 60 initial jobs, in addition to the approximately 38 jobs currently at the centrifuge site. Long-term possibilities at the site could potentially result in a couple of thousand jobs, officials indicated.
During a press conference at the plant site on Monday, Portman said that he started focusing on the Piketon plant's future about 25 years ago when the effort was underway to bring the ACP to the site. He mentioned that they were successful in bringing ACP to Piketon but said that the Obama Administration "pulled the plug on what was a very promising technology."
According to Portman, the new project would provide benefits to the local economy as well as strengthen national energy and defense security.
Portman indicated that "this will be the start of what I hope will be a commercially viable plant."