“We have operated for hundreds of thousands of hours the prototype machines lead cascade and this will be (operation of) the cascade of commercial machines,” said Elizabeth Stuckle, director of communications for the Bethesda, Md.-based nuclear energy company. “Once we demonstrate that cascade — let it operate for a while — then we will amend our application for the $2 billion loan guarantee.”
USEC applied for the loan guarantee from DOE in August 2007. A year later DOE asked the company to withdraw its application for the loan.
A week later, however, DOE said it would delay its final review of the company’s loan guarantee application until “technical and financial” challenges raised by DOE could be addressed.
This was expected to take until the end of February 2010 or more.
With the financing, USEC expected to have the ACP fully operational in 2012.
However, Stuckle said Thursday both costs and schedule have changed.
“Our goal of a 2012 opening date will be delayed, but I do not at this point have a new date of operation,” she said.
Stuckle said USEC believes the ACP is a well-qualified project that meets all the requirements and the spirit of the loan guarantee program.
“We remain optimistic that we will satisfy any concerns the DOE may have had, and we will deploy that plant,” she said.
DOE’s declining to make the loan guarantee available forced the company into some layoffs at the plant.
On. Sept. 17, the company laid off 90 workers associated with the ACP at Piketon. Another 29 USEC employees were furloughed at the firm’s Oak Ridge, Tenn., facility, where it builds AC100 production machines.
There are still 233 USEC workers on the job at Piketon.
The company expects to employ 417 full-time workers when the plant reaches full operations.
Layoffs of construction workers and those involved in providing supplies for the plant have so far totaled 398, for a total job loss at Piketon of 488 since the DOE’s decision in late July to delay the Loan Guarantee.
G. SAM PIATT can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.