In the early hours of Friday morning, the House of Representatives passed a measure setting aside $150 million for the American Centrifuge Project in a defense programs bill. USA Today reported the legislation’s sponsors sidestepped anti-earmark rules by leaving the company unnamed in the bill while laying out other requirements that make USEC the only company eligible for the funds.The measure matches similar spending in a 2012 transportation bill in the Senate. The project also is favored by the Obama administration’s Energy Department. Without federal funding, USEC has indicated it will stop work completely at the Piketon, Ohio, plant that aims to use an efficient centrifuge technology originally developed by the Department of Energy to enrich uranium. Project construction stalled last fall after three years of unsuccessful negotiations for a $2 billion DOE loan guarantee, although limited work continued under a $44 million research, development and demonstration program. That money will run out in the coming weeks, putting the research project and about 2,000 jobs at risk. DOE and USEC continue to work toward a loan guarantee, and in the meantime the Energy Department asked Congress for a total of $300 million for the project. Supporters of the American Centrifuge Project maintain that U.S. defense needs necessitate completion of a domestic uranium enrichment plant by a company under American ownership. Opponents, such as supporters of Urenco’s enrichment plant in New Mexico, cast the Ohio project as pork barrel spending that offers USEC an unfair competitive advantage.Last week, DOE also reached agreements to transfer to Energy Northwest high-assay depleted uranium hexafluoride tails that USEC will re-enrich at DOE’s Paducah, Ky., gaseous diffusion plant.