This announcement comes in response to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) request Tuesday that USEC withdraw its application for $2 billion loan guarantee funding for the American Centrifuge Plant.
“Since the project does not appear to be ready for commercialization, the President believes we should support this technology through continued research and development,” a spokesperson for the White House told the Daily Times.
Steven Chu, U.S. Department of Energy Secretary, said USEC would have another chance to resubmit its application if they can overcome the technical and financial hurdles.
John Welch, USEC president and chief executive officer, disagreed with Obama’s assessment of the American Centrifuge Plant, and said it meets the financial and technical requirements of the Department’s Loan Guarantee Program as well as numerous Obama administration policy objectives
“We plan to pursue further discussions with DOE to work with them to address any remaining technical and financial concerns they may have,” Welch said.
Demobilization of the project will continue, with the company initiating layoffs that will directly affect nearly 2,000 current USEC and contractor employees in Ohio, and several other states in the near term, and indirectly impact thousands more, Welch added.
“We hope that the demobilization process can be averted by quick action by the Obama administration. USEC is prepared to work with DOE and the Obama administration to fashion a mutually acceptable loan guarantee that protects the taxpayers’ interests, while providing the financing needed to deploy the American Centrifuge Plant,” he said.
USEC has operated the centrifuges for more than 235,000 machine hours, and its customers have also reportedly expressed confidence in the technology and have already committed to purchasing over half of the initial, planned output of the American Centrifuge Plant — as America’s only commercial uranium enrichment facility using U.S.-owned and operated centrifuge technology.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235, or email@example.com.