Obama admin denies loan for Ohio uranium plant

Posted on July 30, 2009



A Japanese uranium enrichment plant similar to the one proposed in Ohio.

The Department of Energy on Tuesday rejected the loan request of Maryland-based USEC for the construction of a uranium-enrichment plant in Ohio. USEC CEO John K. Welch said the President reneged on a campaign promise he had made while stumping in Ohio, and Obama actually stated his support on two separate occasions:

While campaigning in southern Ohio last August, Obama praised the USEC project. “Under my administration, energy programs that promote safe and environmentally sound technologies and are domestically produced, such as the enrichment facility in Ohio, will have my full support,” he said later in a letter to Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D). “I will work with the Department of Energy to help make loan guarantees available for this and other advanced energy programs that reduce carbon emissions.”

Rep. Jean Schimdt (R) of Piketon, OH and Rep. Zack Space (D) of Dover, OH raised bipartisan complaints about the DOE’s failure to approve the loan. The DOE’s decision is even more curious when you consider the following:

Two other enrichment plants are planned, one in New Mexico and one in Idaho, but the one in New Mexico would be built by a European consortium and the one in Idaho by Areva, a French company.

I don’t know if those companies somehow got DOE loans, but I would hope not.

Ohio needed this uranium enrichment plant, which would have been situated in Piketon and was termed the American Centrifuge Plant. Jobs in general would be fantastic for the state, especially the tech jobs that this plant would have provided. Instead, the DOE pooh-poohs an American company while two other foreign-owned projects go forward, all while undercutting the President’s supposed interest in “green technology.” A smart energy policy would include nuclear energy and its attendant support industries, but environmentalists and not energy folks are setting the direction on energy policy. It’s another missed opportunity, and both Ohio and the nation will be worse off for it.

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