PDT Staff Writer
USEC, Inc., reported last week that it had a net loss of $92 million for the second quarter of 2012, compared with a net loss of $21.2 million over the same period last year. According to an interview with five reporters in downtown Washington, in Politico, USEC CEO John Welch said, despite an expected $100 million loss overall for 2012, he is still optimistic about the second half of this year.
“As far as we’re concerned, we see a long-term market for our services that’s very strong,” Welch said.
Information netted from the interview shows growth projections for the U.S. nuclear industry slowed down, but USEC hopes to get in on the upward movement of nuclear energy overseas, leading to what Welch hopes is a busy 2013 for his company.
“The rest of the world is moving on quite aggressively” on nuclear power, Welch said. “So, for us, the future is focused around transitioning from an old, expensive, gaseous diffusion-type process and transitioning to a cost-competitive technology at American Centrifuge.”
Welch was referring to the American Centrifuge Project in Piketon, which has been put on life support by the infusion of dollars for the Research Development and Deployment (RD&D) project. USEC officials continue to wait and hope for a $2 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy, something they applied for more than four years ago.
Since applying for the loan guarantee, USEC has found itself jumping through hoop after hoop, including additional testing of centrifuge units and bringing on two financial partners, Toshiba and Babcock & Wilcox, for fiscal stability. However, despite a promise by a campaigning Barack Obama, to support the loan guarantee, that promise has not come to fruition, and it wasn’t until the DOE decided to fund the RD&D project, that USEC could exhale.
Politico said Welch has set as priorities, completion of, and focusing on, the RD&D project at Piketon, where it expects to complete the research program for the ACP by December 2013 and quickly re-apply for the $2 billion DOE loan guarantee it missed out on last year, and the wrap up of operations at the plant in Paducah, Kentucky. A $350 million cost-share agreement between DOE and USEC in June allowed construction at the Ohio project to continue through November.
“We’re very much focused on how we conduct our business today and how we best transition to a future that’s very much based on the American Centrifuge,” Welch said. “We need to do some more reliability demonstration on some of the components and the support systems, but we can do that.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org