A bill that would be a great “win” for Kentucky took one step closer to becoming law on Wednesday. As previously reported, House Resolution (HR) 2504, the Energy and Revenue Enrichment Act of 2011, would allow the Department of Energy (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.
U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, the bill’s sponsor, said it best in a statement released Wednesday:
This bill is a win for the environment and a win for jobs. The legislation would generate revenue for the government and that would be put toward the cleanup efforts at the Paducah Plant while also saving 1,200 jobs. Given our current rate of unemployment, 1,200 jobs is not insignificant. Further, at a time when our budgets have razor thin margins, it makes perfect sense to use the revenues generated from these tails to pay for environmental cleanup efforts.
The bill will now move on to receive a hearing by the full House in the near future. The Chamber will keep you up to date on the progress of this promising legislation.