Kasich was given a tour of the plant at Piketon on Thursday.
“I saw the centrifuges working. It seems to me the technology works, but what do I know about nuclear technology?” Kasich said. “They need to give us an answer. We should have a better sense of this in January. We’re going to have to push.
“We can’t sit and wait. I’d rather have a fast ‘no’ than have it dragged along for a year with false hopes.”
USEC has invested nearly $2 billion in the ACP and has operated centrifuges as part of its Lead Cascade test program for more than 500,000 machine hours. Company officials say this demonstrates that the machines can be successfully manufactured and installed for commercial use.
The company has also obtained $3.1 billion in committed sales of nuclear fuel the ACP will produce.
However, it still needs additional financing to complete plant construction and is waiting on a decision by the U.S. Department of Energy on the company’s $2 billion loan guarantee application.
It first made application for the uranium-enrichment facility in July 2008. DOE turned thumbs down at that time and said the company needed to show the ACP technology could compete on the worldwide nuclear fuel markets.
USEC then submitted a comprehensive update to its loan guarantee application in July.
In October, after largely completing its initial technical review of the application, DOE provided USEC a draft term sheet.
The next steps in the process include completion of “due diligence” by DOE and negotiation of terms and conditions for the potential issuance of a conditional commitment for the loan guarantee.
USEC significantly slowed construction and machine manufacturing activities on the project until it has the $2 billion in needed financing.
The company has, however, re-started limited engineering work on portions of the plant infrastructure to make it easier to step up construction when needed.
And for now it waits.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101,
ext. 236, or email@example.com.