Whitfield Asks Energy Secretary About USEC Plant
By WestKyStar Staff
WASHINGTON, DC - Kentucky U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield on Thursday met with Dept. of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to discuss a long-term solution for the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.
Whitfield asked Moniz to maintain the viability of the jobs at the DOE site in Paducah, since USEC's contract to operate it was allowed to expire in May. He also urged the department to move forward as quickly as possible on expressions of interest from private sector companies.
Secretary Moniz said that he is in agreement with Whitfield. He said the site needs be prepared for cleanup and decommissioning, while finding other potential uses for the facility at the same time.
Whitfield used his position as Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power to pressure Moniz on the issue.
Here is video of their conversation, with a transcript of it below:
Rep. Ed Whitfield: "Hopefully, it is the Department of Energy's policy to try to maintain the viability of that plant and protect the 1,200 jobs there, would you agree with that?"
Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz: "Yes sir, Mr. Chairman, we do agree with that."
Whitfield: "And you are gonna consider requests for proposals or expressions of interest to continue to operate the plant?"
Moniz: "Correct. In fact, if I may, I can even reflect on a little history in terms of the history with the Portsmouth plant, where USEC ceased operation there in 2000. The plan, which I think is a good model going forward with Paducah, is that we go into clean-up. That prepares the way for de-commissioning, but in a parallel track, we look for new business opportunities to use the site, the people at the site, the resources at the site."
Whitfield: "OK. I would urge you once again to use all of the speed that you all have available to you on your requests for proposal for the economic development at the Paducah plant."
Moniz: "I should have mentioned earlier, I forgot, that we have several proposals in, and we will be evaluating those."
Whitfield: "Thank you."