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3rd Ward Councilman
USEC director thanks community for its support
There has been a lot of news in the media lately regarding the future of nuclear energy. USEC has made a significant commitment in support of the nuclear renaissance through the deployment of our American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon.
We're dedicated to demonstrating and deploying what we expect will be the world's most efficient uranium enrichment technology. Over the past five years, USEC has spent close to $300 million - about $60 million during the first half of this year alone - on the American Centrifuge program.
Some are curious about USEC's decision to delay its near-term schedule. We made this decision in order to allow time to optimize our machine performance. We believe getting the best performance we can from our machines over the life of the plant warrants taking some additional time now. USEC has the capability today to build and install a Lead Cascade to machines that can perform at less than our optimal level, but we're looking at what is most prudent in the long term.
USEC and its contractors have been hard at work manufacturing machine parts and assembling machines. Earlier this year, we successfully tested machines that performed under sub-optimal conditions at essentially our target level - which is eight times more efficient than existing commercial centrifuges. We expect to have a small number of centrifuge machines operating shortly and a full Lead Cascade operating by mid-2007.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently assumed regulatory oversight of our American Centrifuge Demonstration Facility. This transfer is an important step forward that will allow USEC to begin operating centrifuge machines with uranium hexafluoride.
In May, the NRC issued its final Environmental Impact Statement certifying that the American Centrifuge would create no significant adverse environmental or socioeconomic impacts on the local community during its construction or operations.
Last month the NRC issued its final Safety Evaluation Report, which found that the commercial plant would create no significant adverse safety impacts during its construction or operation. The safety report was followed by a public hearing by the NRC's Atomic Safety and Licensing Board in Piketon. USEC expects to receive the operating license in early 2007.
USEC will play a major role in supporting America's energy security and national security while providing a reliable, competitive fuel source for commercial nuclear power plants. Looking ahead, the American Centrifuge will use modular architecture that permits capacity to be added as needed, allowing USEC to meet the growing demand for nuclear fuel.
USEC has been a valuable contributor to the local community for more than 13 years. In turn, we've received tremendous support for the local community and we thank you for that.
Director, American Centrifuge Plant