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Layoffs on hold at cleanup of Ohio uranium plant as project leaders eye more federal funding

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PIKETON, Ohio — Officials have put on hold potentially hundreds of layoffs at the cleanup of a Cold War-era uranium plant in southern Ohio as they anticipate approval of more federal funding for the project.

Workers decontaminating and decommissioning the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon faced months of uncertainty because of funding shortfalls and had braced for 500 or more layoffs slated for Friday. As that deadline passed, the site project director said layoffs were postponed for now while Congress considers a massive spending bill.

Lawmakers and project and union officials anticipate that enough money will be approved for the project to avoid layoffs during the fiscal year that ends next fall.

The facility roughly 60 miles south of Columbus produced enriched uranium until 2001. The cleanup employs about 1,900 people.

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