BETHESDA, Md., Oct. 29, 2002 — USEC Inc. announced that it has received final proposals from the states of Kentucky and Ohio for a next generation test facility for enriching uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants.
USEC sites in Paducah, Kentucky and near Portsmouth, Ohio are being considered for the company’s “lead cascade” facility, which will showcase improvements to already proven U.S. gas centrifuge uranium enrichment technology. The final proposals are updates to initial proposals submitted by the states in September.
“Our selection process is on track for the planned announcement of the lead cascade site later this year,” said Dennis Spurgeon, USEC executive vice president and chief operating officer. “We appreciate the thoughtful proposals put together by the states of Kentucky and Ohio and we will continue to work with both states to ensure that we make the most economical and appropriate decision.”
The lead cascade will demonstrate the basic building block of a commercial enrichment plant. It will consist of up to 240 full-scale centrifuge machines, enriching uranium in a closed cycle. Its purpose is to provide updated cost, schedule and performance data for building a $1 billion to $1.5 billion commercial centrifuge enrichment plant. “We are confident that successful demonstration of the lead cascade will attract partners and/or investors for the construction of the commercial enrichment plant,” said Spurgeon. Operation of the lead cascade is scheduled to begin in 2005.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) spent more than two decades and $3 billion on centrifuge technology. USEC’s centrifuge program uses this same, proven technology but improves its economics through the use of state-of-the-art materials, control systems and manufacturing processes. “Based on the performance of machines previously built and operated by DOE, we expect this centrifuge design to be the most efficient uranium enrichment technology in the world,” said Spurgeon.
On September 5, USEC announced that it will spend $150 million over the next five years to deploy the lead cascade. More recently, USEC finalized an agreement with UT-Battelle LLC, approved by DOE, to expand cooperative efforts to deploy U.S. centrifuge technology.
USEC Inc., a global energy company, is a supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants.
Source: USEC Inc.