The federal transportation bill now before Congress includes $150 million earmarked for a proposed uranium-enrichment plant in Ohio that backers say will create 400 permanent jobs and bring temporary work to another 4,000.
The money was inserted into the bill by Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and Republican Sen. Rob Portman, reports the Dayton Daily News
. The Ohio senators have also backed federal loan guarantees for Maryland-based uranium-product firm USEC to build its American Centrifuge Project in Piketon, Ohio.
If the bill passes, the federal dollars would be spent for research and development at the plant. Brown said the project is not only important for jobs, but “it’s also a critical component of our national security. That’s why we see bipartisan support in the Senate for continued research and development.’’
USEC has, over the past three years, sought $2 billion in federal loan guarantees to commercialize the project. However, the Department of Energy has refused the money for the plant, where USEC plans to enrich uranium for nuclear energy.
The $150 million, also included in President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for the 2013 spending year, may be the last chance to keep the project alive, proponents say.
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