28 July 2009 -- US enrichment company USEC is preparing to cancel its partially built uranium enrichment plant after the Department of Energy denied its application for a $2 billion loan guarantee.
"We are shocked and disappointed by DoE's decision," USEC president and CEO John Welch said in a statement issued after the company was advised of DoE's decision.
The company has already spent $1.5 billion on the plant, which is in mid-construction at Piketon, Ohio. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted a construction and operation licence for the plant in April 2007. The prototype lead cascade started operating that September. The plant had been scheduled for commercial operation in 2010, but financing for the plant has long been a concern. Earlier this year USEC said it was slowing the plant's schedule pending a decision on the DOE loan guarantee.
The company applied for $2 billion in loan guarantees amounting in July 2008. Later in the year it said the success of its application was not assured and that it was evaluating alternative sources of capital.
Demobilization is likely to involve a partial or full halt to some project activities and plant construction, although the company says it will continue development work on its American Centrifuge technology.
The full plant, with a capacity of 3.8 million Separative Work Units) would have used 5 percent of the power of the old gaseous diffusion enrichment plant it was meant to replace.