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Former presidential candidate to visit Ohio next week

Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Monday to tour cleanup work at former plant at Piketon.

From nearly the moment he was nominated as Energy Secretary, Ohio’s two senators have been pestering Energy Secretary Rick Perry to visit Piketon, Ohio, home of the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant and former American Centrifuge Project facility.

On Friday, Sen. Rob Portman announced, the visit was put on the calendar.

RELATED: Funding for Piketon cleanup in jeopardy

Perry will visit Piketon July 31, said Portman, in order to “get a firsthand look at the cleanup work and to see the importance of the work to the local economy.”

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Portman secured a promise from Perry that Perry would visit Piketon during his confirmation hearing. The site is home of a long-abandoned uranium enrichment plant as well as more recently home of a pilot project to enrich uranium using new technology. The site currently employs about 1,800 people who are doing decontamination work.

RELATED: Piketon: A troubled past

In January, under questioning from Portman, Perry committed “that I will become as educated on this issue as I can and in the most expeditious way that I can manage it.

“Without knowing the deep details of this, my instinct tells me that this is an issue of execution, of good management,” Perry said.

In March, Portman and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, issued a formal invitation for Perry to visit.

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