The agreement uses U.S. government depleted uranium to produce fuel to support national security needs.
USEC Inc. entered into a multi-party arrangement with Energy Northwest, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) to extend uranium enrichment operations at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Paducah, Ky.
Under the agreements, DOE will provide high-assay depleted uranium hexafluoride, also known as tails, to Energy Northwest. Energy Northwest has contracted with USEC to re-enrich the tails into low enriched uranium. Energy Northwest will utilize a portion of the low enriched uranium for its Columbia Nuclear Generating Station and will sell the remainder of the U.S.-origin low enriched uranium to TVA for use in TVA’s reactors, including reactors that are used to produce tritium, a vital component for maintaining the U.S. nuclear deterrent. TVA will supply the power for the re-enrichment under an agreement to extend the existing USEC-TVA power contract.
“USEC is pleased to deliver on one of its stated objectives to extend Paducah operations on an economically sound basis,” said John Welch, USEC president and CEO. “This agreement represents a multipoint win for government and industry that allows taxpayers to realize value by converting depleted uranium tails into an asset. At the same time it provides material critical to our national defense that can only come from U.S. technology.”
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Source: USEC Inc.
Image: USEC Inc.