Layoffs Loom As Piketon Uranium Plant Plans Cleanup

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As Congress considers a massive spending bill, officials in southern Ohio are waiting to see whether funding is approved to avert hundreds of layoffs for workers decontaminating and decommissioning a Cold War-era uranium plant.
Cleanup of the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon has operated with uncertainty for months because of funding shortfalls. The project site director warned that over 500 layoffs could occur Friday if an additional $93 million isn't appropriated to enable the current level of work to continue.
Union and government officials argued that not getting that funding would mean slowing the project, costing more in the long term and cutting a significant amount of jobs in an area with already high unemployment.
The facility roughly 60 miles south of Columbus produced enriched uranium until 2001.