dept energyPADUCAH, Ky. (11/27/13) — Gov. Steve Beshear released this statement about today's Department of Energy action regarding future use of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant:

"Today's news that DOE will begin negotiations with Global Laser Enrichment to consider operating a new laser enrichment facility at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant is a positive development in our long effort to ensure a promising future for the workers at that facility. This is a strong step toward energizing that sector of our economy, while providing economic stability and investment for the Paducah community.

While negotiations are yet to come and a great deal of work remains, I am cautiously optimistic regarding this new effort. As I stressed during my meeting with Secretary Moniz earlier in the summer, the companies that are ready and willing to create economic opportunities at the site need timely answers, and so do our valued and skilled workers in Paducah. I deeply appreciate that DOE heeded my recommendation to speed up the decision making process, and announced this step today a month ahead of their original schedule. I have also emphasized the importance of keeping the tails in Paducah for future economic growth and jobs, and I will continue to stress the necessity of quick action on site cleanup and other decisions regarding the area's viability.

The state will be at the table during these upcoming negotiations to provide any necessary permits and reviews to support an expedited conclusion."

A copy of the DOE announcement follows:

Energy Department Selects Global Laser Enrichment for Future Operations at Paducah Site

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Energy announced today that it will open negotiations with Global Laser Enrichment for the sale of the depleted uranium hexafluoride inventory. The Department determined that GLE offered the greatest benefit to the government among those who responded to a Request for Offers released earlier this year. Through the RFO review process, the Department also decided to enter into negotiations with AREVA for the off-specification uranium hexafluoride inventory.

"Today, after months of hard work and ahead of our anticipated end-of-year decision, I am pleased to announce that the Department has selected GLE and AREVA for potential projects that provide value to American taxpayers by reducing the costs of cleanup at the sites and creating high-paying technical jobs in the State of Kentucky," said Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman. "These selections represent an important next step as the Department continues planning for potential future uses and ongoing cleanup efforts at the Paducah site."

GLE proposed licensing, constructing, and operating a new laser enrichment facility that could potentially provide significant compensation to the Department for its depleted uranium hexafluoride inventories, as well as supporting U.S. policy interests and utilization of the Paducah site. The GLE offer also included the potential lease or use of existing Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant facilities, infrastructure, and utilities. The company's commercial operation also has the potential to produce substantial economic benefit to the Paducah region through the addition of highly skilled technical jobs and increasing the local tax base.

The AREVA proposal utilizes its nuclear fuel fabrication facility in Richland, Washington, to process the off-specification uranium hexafluoride as blend stock for domestic nuclear reactor fuel. AREVA has well-established technology and licensed operations for blending this type of material with other uranium feed material.

GLE and AREVA were selected following an RFO for the sale of depleted and off-specification uranium hexafluoride inventories, issued in July. The materials are currently housed at the Paducah, Kentucky, and Portsmouth, Ohio, Gaseous Diffusion Plant facilities. The RFO built on an Expression of Interest released earlier this year that provided the Department with confirmation that a number of parties are interested in utilizing the uranium inventories and potentially in using land or facilities at the Paducah site.

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