PIKETON: Cleanup efforts at a Cold War-era uranium plant in southern Ohio have been funded through late April.

The state Senate recently approved a short-term spending bill that will prevent disruptions of the cleanup at the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon.

The plant produced enriched uranium for defense and commercial uses until 2001. Chemicals, radioactive areas and old buildings were left behind when it was shuttered. The cleanup is expected to take decades and offers some of the best-paying jobs in an area that has high unemployment.

Warnings of the potential for large-scale layoffs have loomed over the plant’s workers in recent years. A bill signed last year that included more than $200 million for cleanup operations has brought some relief.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, said he’s happy the cleanup can continue and layoffs will be avoided.

“Cleanup at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant is critical for jobs, economic development, and the future of southern Ohio,” Portman said in a statement.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, said the investment preserves cleanup jobs and will help create more “good-paying, middle-class jobs.”

The bill is a continuing resolution, or temporary spending measure. It can be used to continue funding programs until both the House and Senate agree on a final budget for the next fiscal year.