Milestones moved for American Centrifuge Plant

17 February 2011

USEC Inc and the US Department of Energy (DoE) have agreed to modify milestones for the deployment of centrifuge enrichment technology at the American Centrifuge Plant.

American Centrifuge from the air (USEC)
The planned American Centrifuge Plant (Image: USEC)
Four out of fifteen agreed milestones related to the financing and operation of the plant, being built by USEC in Ohio, have been modified in order to provide "additional flexibility" as USEC works towards obtaining financing for the plant under the DoE's Loan Guarantee program, the company has announced. Eleven other milestones relating to the deployment of the American Centrifuge technology agreed with the DoE in 2002 have already been met.
The new agreement sees the milestone for USEC to secure firm financing commitments for the project put back by one year to November 2011. As a result, the other milestones to be updated are for the start of commercial operations, now set for May 2014, achieving an annual capacity of 1 million SWU, which moves to August 2015, and achieving a capacity of 350 SWU per year by 2017.
However, USEC's deployment schedule remains unchanged. "The new financing and operating milestone dates do not mean that these are our target dates, or that we have revised our current schedule. Rather, these are simply outside dates that we need to achieve under the 2002 agreement," said Philip Sewell, USEC senior vice president of American Centrifuge and Russian HEU.
The plant had originally been intended to start up in 2010, but work slowed and was temporarily suspended in 2009 when the DoE refused it a federal loan guarantee. Since then, DoE has accepted an updated loan guarantee application from the company, and USEC has also secured a $200 million investment from Toshiba and Babcock & Wilcox. USEC estimates that it will take about 24 months to begin commercial operations after it receives the financing it needs to finish the plant.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News