U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) took a couple officials with the Department of Energy to the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon where uncertainly looms on the future of the site's reindustrialization.
Portman was there to get an update on the Obama Administration's "efforts to restore the $110-million funding shortfall for the decommissioning and decontamination work" at the southern Ohio plant.
"I didn't get the commitments from them that I'd hope to, but it was good to have them out at the site," said Sen. Portman. "We were able to have a very candid conversation, and I hope it will help."
Senator Portman attributed the funding shortfall to budget pressures and a reliance on sales of the site's uranium stockpiles, which have decreased in value.
He's hoping some funds can be restored through a transfer within the DOE's budget when Congress goes back into session.
"There may be a way for us to be able to get some help here even in the next few weeks because Congress is going back into session and putting together a continuing resolution," he said.
Senator Portman said it is important for decommissioning and decontamination work to continue: "If you drag this thing out, don't clean up at the same level we've been doing the last few years, it will cost the taxpayers more, it's less safe for the community, obviously, but then also it doesn't let your community move ahead with redeveloping the site for commercial use."
Senator Portman is asking Ohioans to write or call the DOE and Congress with their input.