Two congressmen are pushing for an investigation as to why the Energy Department is supporting a financially troubled company planning to build a uranium-enrichment facility in Ohio.
According to the Columbus Dispatch
, Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey and Texas Republican Michael Burgess have asked the Government Accountability Office to find out what’s behind the agency’s commitment to assume $44 million in liability for the project, which apparently would help the company — Maryland-based USEC — stay in business.
“We’ve been told this earmark is all about avoiding risk to our national security, but the real risks of this nuclear bailout is for taxpayers who will be on the hook for questionable government handouts that are worth more than the entire company,” Markey said in a joint statement with Burgess Tuesday.
The lawmakers also noted that USEC’s credit rating was recently downgraded, and said the company has experienced recent technical development problems that could mean the government is investing in new technology that will never be ready for use.
The Columbus Dispatch reported that the Energy Department has already refused USEC’s request for $2 billion in federal loan guarantees, saying its technology is not ready to be commercialized.
But USEC insists that its planned American Centrifuge Project at Piketon will bring jobs to Ohio and provide a new source of enriched uranium for the nation’s nuclear power plants and its military programs.
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