Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
USEC, Inc., has reportedly filed a $38 million federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) last week seeking unpaid fees. According to the company, the DOE is in breach of contract for not providing agreed reimbursements for work done at USEC facilities in Paducah, Ky., and the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon between 2003 and 2011.
According to Paul Jacobson, vice president of corporate communications for USEC, “The contract services work included work performed by USEC under contract with DOE to maintain and prepare the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant for decontamination and decommissioning. The suit was necessitated because of the failure of DOE to timely approve provisional billing rates and to complete (and for a number of the years in question, to even start) audits of the final incurred costs.”
The exact amount of the claim identified in the suit is $37,970,480. Among the itemized list of claims is $12,578,267 for “Cold Standby/Deposit Removal,” $11,767,970 for “DOE Government Furnished Services” in Piketon, and $3,004,080 for “X3001 Equipment Removal.” The Associated Press reports that a bulk of the money in dispute comes from work done to decontaminate and decommission the plant in Portsmouth, and that work done at the Paducah plant accounts for about $25,000 of the claim.
“We regret that it has come to the point where we had to file suit in Federal court in order to obtain reimbursement of our costs but we had filed our claims with DOE, and since they remain unpaid, we were required to file suit in order to preserve our rights to payment,” Jacobson said.
Officials from the Department of Energy would not comment at this time.
USEC is a global energy supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants. The company announced last month that it was unable to reach a deal for the short-term extension of uranium enrichment at the Paducah (Ky.) Gaseous Diffusion Plant and would take steps to begin a shutdown of uranium enrichment at the site.
The Paducah plant is the only U.S.-owned and operated uranium enrichment facility in the United States. USEC leases the plant from the DOE, and will now take steps to cease enrichment at the facility. The company said work at the Paducah plant will continue through 2014 to manage inventory, meet customer orders and ready the site for return to the DOE. Plans to reduce the Paducah location’s workforce are expected to be implemented in the coming months.
Jeremy Derryberry, a USEC Communications Manager, told the Daily Times last month that the move would not affect operations at USEC’s American Centrifuge Project in Piketon. He said the company’s main concentration has been the Centrifuge Project and the lack of an extension at the Paducah location has done nothing to change that.
Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or email@example.com. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter. The Associated Press contributed to this story.