The U.S. House of Representatives is currently reviewing a bill that would create a unique opportunity for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Kentucky. House Resolution (HR) 2504, the Energy and Revenue Enrichment Act of 2011, would allow the DOE to convert a portion of the massive stockpile of depleted uranium “tails” at the United States Enrichment Corporation’s (USEC) Paducah plant into valuable natural uranium. The product could then be sold to generate new revenue for the federal government while helping to extend the operation of the Paducah plant. The tails project would help provide a continuity of operation of U.S. enrichment technology and allow the U.S. to meet almost all of its reactor fuel demands from domestic production.
Given its ability to protect hundreds of jobs in Western Kentucky and contribute millions of dollars to the state economy, the Kentucky Chamber voiced its support for the legislation to Kentucky’s Washington, D.C. delegation. In a letter to lawmakers, the Chamber expressed the belief that this resolution would be a good deal for taxpayers. Because the enrichment industry has a very open and competitive market, the DOE would be able to establish a very competitive pricing structure based on international market prices. Additionally, the program would not require any funding from the federal or state government. The project would be self-sustaining by selling a portion of the feed that’s generated to pay for the enrichment.
The Chamber will continue to monitor this issue and keep you informed of any progress made.