A deal worth $200 million will see Toshiba and Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) invest in USEC and thereby support the embattled American Centrifuge project.
USEC hailed the move as "a sign that the future of nuclear energy is bright" and said the investment by the pair would "strengthen the deployment of the American Centrifuge Plant and create key new business opportunities throughout the nuclear fuel cycle."
It is a three-phase investment split equally between the two firms. A first payment of $75 million is subject to regulatory reviews and approvals, the second installment of $50 million depends on the US Department of Energy giving conditional approval to guarantee loans to support completing the American Centrifuge. Thirdly would come $75 million when the DoE finally approves $2 billion in loan guarantees. The sums would be spent on developing the American Centrifuge plant and its AC100 centrifuge units.
In return for their investment Toshiba and B&W would receive "convertible preferred stock as well as warrants to purchase shares of common stock, which would be exercisable in the future," said USEC.
|Inside one of two American Centrifuge production buildings. Here two
'trains' are marked out for some 1400 centrifuge units (Image: USEC)
Commenting for Toshiba, Yasuharu Igarashi said the move would strengthen its presence in the front-end of the nuclear fuel cycle. For B&W, Brandon Bethards said the agreement would allow it to "explore broader energy opportunities globally through expanded strategic relationships with Toshiba and USEC."
In future, USEC would provide enriched uranium for Toshiba's bids to build nuclear reactors. And if the third phase conditions are met and the American Centrifuge plant is to be completed USEC and B&W would go ahead with a joint venture to manufacture the AC100 centrifuges it requires, continuing B&W's role in making the current pilot units.
Researched and written
by World Nuclear News