WASHINGTON, DC - Over the course of this year, the Department of Energy has worked closely with USEC on its loan guarantee application. This summer, the Department made several announcements related to USEC and its application, and is providing an update on those announcements at this time.
At the end of July, the Department of Energy announced an investment worth about $150 to $200 million per year for the next four years to expand and accelerate cleanup efforts of Cold War-era contamination at the Portsmouth uranium enrichment facility adjacent to the American Centrifuge Plant (ACP). This investment, on top of the base budget and Recovery Act funding, is expected to create 800 to 1,000 new jobs on the Portsmouth site. The Department continues to move forward with this plan.
The Department also announced in late July a willingness to invest up to $45 million over the next 18 months for USEC to support ongoing ACP technology demonstration activities, beginning with $30 million the Department requested from Congress for FY 2010. However, in the recently completed FY 2010 energy and water appropriations conference report, Congress did not provide the $30 million needed for this work.
In addition, USEC announced on September 28th that the centrifuges in Piketon had to be taken offline and disassembled due to a flaw in their manufacturing process. USEC has indicated that it will be several months before the centrifuges can be rebuilt with new parts and testing can start over. For both of these reasons, the Department does not see a path to providing the $30 million in technology demonstration funding at this time.
Finally, DOE announced at the beginning of August an agreement with USEC to delay a final review on the company's loan guarantee application for the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio until a set of technical and financial milestones have been met. That agreement remains in place.