The Senate committee approved $134 million for Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant cleanup, a $31 million increase.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, had asked for the increased funding. The bill must still be approved by Senate Appropriations Committee, the full Senate and the House.
Last year, Congress allocated $103 million for cleanup at the plant. "The community has spoken with one voice on its desire to move forward on cleaning up the plant," McConnell said.
McConnell said he hopes officials from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Kentucky Natural Resources Cabinet will soon come to an agreement on an accelerated cleanup plan. "Doing so will help me protect this money ...," McConnell said.
The $10 million for depleted uranium conversion will be used to keep DOE on track to construct two depleted uranium conversion facilities at the Paducah and Piketon, Ohio, plants, McConnell said.
Last week, the Senate approved another bill that requires DOE to start construction on the two plants by July 31, 2004. The facilities will be used to convert the nearly 60,000 cylinders of hazardous depleted uranium hexafluoride that have been stored on the site since the early 1950s.