500-Plus Layoffs Possible in Ohio Uranium Plant Cleanup

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PIKETON, Ohio (AP) – A company is warning of more than 500 potential layoffs from a workforce demolishing huge buildings and other facilities at a Cold War-era uranium plant in southern Ohio.

The announcement from Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth is the latest development in the lengthy decontamination and decommissioning process for the 1950s-era Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon. It produced enriched uranium for defense and commercial uses until 2001.

Its shutdown left buildings, chemicals and radioactive areas to be addressed.

Fluor BWXT spokesman Jeff Wagner tells the Portsmouth Daily Times that notices of up to 1,400 layoffs were sent Wednesday.

Wagner says the company first seeks voluntary separations and hopes actual layoffs total 570 or fewer.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman has reiterated a call for the federal government to fully fund the cleanup.