USEC: New Option Exchanges Centrifuges for Grant

“The purchase of some of the centrifuge machines is just one of a few possible options under consideration. No final decisions have been made,” said Energy Department spokeswoman Jen Stutsman.

Money_TreeWASHINGTON – Taxpayers could support a risky uranium-processing project in southern Ohio through a transaction that would give the Energy Department ownership of nuclear centrifuges while relieving the company of some of its depleted uranium liabilities.

That’s one option under consideration by the Department of Energy, according to a notice posted of a possible “sole source” contract with USEC.

The company says the project would create 8,000 jobs, mostly in the electoral battleground of Ohio. But it’s been unable to secure a $2 billion federal loan guarantee, so it’s asked Congress to approve a $100 million cash grant to keep the project going through October.

The notice makes clear that USEC is the only company that would be available to bid on the contract, which calls for the DOE to buy 40 model AC100 centrifuges — which exist only at USEC’s Piketon, Ohio, facility. In exchange, DOE would take ownership of — “and eventual disposal responsibility for” — depleted uranium. USEC has to maintain cash reserves to dispose of that uranium, so the move would free up cash for the company.

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Source: Gregory Korte | USA Today