USEC Inc. (NYSE:USU) today provided an update on the American Centrifuge project and the ongoing cooperative research, development and demonstration (RD&D) program. USEC is successfully executing the RD&D program with the Department of Energy (DOE) to reduce the technical risks and improve the future prospects of commercial deployment of the American Centrifuge technology.
During the RD&D program we have built plant control systems, assembled AC100 centrifuge machines and conditioned the machines with uranium gas in our existing lead cascade. Importantly, the RD&D program continues to operate on schedule and on budget. The company has taken a non-cash charge of approximately $1.1 billion for previously capitalized costs related to the American Centrifuge project during the period of 2007 through late 2011. This action has no effect on the RD&D program or the assets that have been transferred to DOE. More information on the non-cash charge is contained in our annual report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and posted on our website.
“We’ve seen solid performance from our team working on the RD&D program and the program remains on budget and on schedule,” said John K. Welch, USEC chief executive officer and president. “We are pleased to see continued broad-based, bipartisan support for the American Centrifuge project due to its importance in meeting national and energy security goals, and the opportunity to create more jobs.”
Welch added, “Our American Centrifuge team is on track to meet program goals and we remain committed to moving forward with commercialization of the technology. We believe that is the path to USEC’s long-term competitiveness in the uranium enrichment business and the best way to maximize value for all stakeholders.”
The RD&D program is being conducted under our Lead Cascade license issued by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. We have operated centrifuges as part of our lead cascade test program for more than one million machine hours since August 2007. Through the lead cascade test program, we demonstrate the performance of centrifuge machines, demonstrate the reliability of machine components, obtain data on machine-to-machine interactions, verify cascade performance models under a variety of operating conditions, and obtain operating experience for our plant operators and technicians.