Nuclear, O&M

Only U.S.-owned and operated uranium enrichment plant to close

USEC Inc. (NYSE: USU) announced this week it had not reached an agreement for a short-term extension of uranium enrichment at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion plant in Kentucky, the only such U.S.-owned and operated facility. Uranium enrichment at the facility, which USEC leases from the US Department of Energy, will begin the cessation of operations at the end of May.

Though steps to stop enrichment at the plant will begin in late May, USEC expects to continue work at the facility into 2014 to manage current inventory and meet customer orders, as well as manage the turnover requirements of its lease with DOE. USEC is expected to begin cutting jobs in the coming months.

“We will continue to meet our customers’ orders from our existing inventory, purchases from Russia under the historic Megatons to Megawatts program and our transitional supply contract with Russia that runs through 2022,” said Robert Van Namen, the chief operating officer of USEC. “In addition, our work to commercialize the American Centrifuge technology continues through our research, development and demonstration program with DOE, which remains on schedule and within budget, as we remain on a path to deploy this critical technology.”

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