USEC Completes Construction Phase of Demonstration Cascade
USEC Completes Construction Phase of Demonstration Cascade
BETHESDA, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- USEC Inc. (NYS: USU) has completed construction of its American Centrifuge commercial demonstration cascade. The 120-machine cascade is the centerpiece of a cooperative research, development and demonstration program (RD&D) with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). This program is intended to reduce technical risks and improve the future prospects of commercial deployment of the American Centrifuge technology.
USEC Inc. has completed construction of its American Centrifuge commercial demonstration cascade including installation of 120 centrifuges. (Photo: USEC Inc.)
"Completing construction of the demonstration cascade is a major step toward achieving the objectives of the RD&D program," said Glenn Strausser, director of engineering, procurement and construction for the American Centrifuge project. "We completed cascade construction with an outstanding safety record, and the RD&D program remains on schedule and within budget. The experience we gained will be invaluable as we move forward with deployment of the full commercial plant."
"This was a complete team effort between all project areas," said Dan Rogers, general manager of American Centrifuge Plant operations. "We look forward to completing systems testing and beginning operations to confirm the technical readiness of the American Centrifuge technology."
Construction activities included preparing the cascade for machine installation, making physical improvements to the facilities, removing existing cascade support equipment and installing new infrastructure systems. The plant operations group has also populated the cascade with its full complement of 120 centrifuges. With cascade construction complete, the project team will continue system testing in preparation for formal integrated systems testing required before the cascade becomes operational later this year.
Cascade construction involved more than 300 workers, including many local union tradesmen who worked more than 150,000 man-hours without a recordable injury or lost-time accident. The RD&D program as a whole supports more than 1,100 jobs and utilizes more than 160 companies from 28 states.
Workers completed more than 700 structural welds, many of which were classified as "Quality Level 1," requiring rigorous effort and oversight. Electricians installed 4,000 feet of cable tray, more than 5 miles of conduit and more than 60 miles of cables.
USEC and DOE are executing a $350 million cooperative RD&D program to confirm the technical readiness of the American Centrifuge technology, the next-generation U.S. uranium enrichment technology. The program is within budget and on schedule to be completed in December 2013.
The RD&D program supports building, installing, operating, and testing commercial plant support systems and a 120-machine cascade that would be incorporated in the full commercial plant of 96 identical cascades in Piketon, Ohio.
The cooperative agreement between USEC and DOE defines the scope, funding and technical goals for the program. The total investment in the program will be up to $350 million, with DOE providing 80 percent, and USEC providing 20 percent of the total. The RD&D program is currently funded through June 15, 2013. The recently enacted FY2013 continuing appropriations resolution included additional funding for continued work on the RD&D program at an annual rate of $110 million, which is expected to fund the RD&D program through September 30, 2013. The Company will continue to work with Congress and the administration to fund the RD&D program through December 2013 to achieve the remaining program milestones.
An informational video on the RD&D program can be accessed at http://www.usec.com/video/american-centrifuge-investing-americas-energy-future. You can also view photographs of the full 120-machine demonstration cascade at http://www.usec.com/media/photo-gallery.
USEC Inc., a global energy company, is a leading supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants.
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 - that is, statements related to future events. In this context, forward-looking statements may address our expected future business and financial performance, and often contain words such as "expects", "anticipates", "intends", "plans", "believes", "will" and other words of similar meaning. Forward-looking statements by their nature address matters that are, to different degrees, uncertain. For USEC, particular risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in our forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: uncertainty regarding the timing, amount and availability of additional funding for the research, development and demonstration ("RD&D") program and the dependency of government funding on Congressional appropriations; restrictions in our credit facility on our spending on the American Centrifuge project and the potential for us to demobilize the project; limitations on our ability to provide any required cost sharing under the RD&D program; uncertainty concerning our ability through the RD&D program to demonstrate the technical and financial readiness of the centrifuge technology for commercialization; uncertainty concerning the ultimate success of our efforts to obtain a DOE loan guarantee and other financing for the American Centrifuge project and the timing and terms thereof; potential changes in our anticipated ownership of or role in the American Centrifuge project, including as a result of the need to raise additional capital to finance the project; the impact of actions we have taken or may take to reduce spending on the American Centrifuge project, including the potential loss of key suppliers and employees, and impacts to cost and schedule; the impact of delays in the American Centrifuge project and uncertainty regarding our ability to remobilize the project; changes in U.S. government priorities and the availability of government funding, including loan guarantees; and other risks and uncertainties discussed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our annual report on Form 10-K, which is available on our website at www.usec.com. We do not undertake to update our forward-looking statements except as required by law.
Media: Paul Jacobson, 301-564-3399
Investor Relations: Steven Wingfield, 301-564-3354
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