USEC Inc. (NYSE:USU) today reported a net loss of $28.8 million or 24 cents per share for the quarter ended March 31, 2012, compared to a net loss of $16.6 million or 14 cents per share for the first quarter of 2011. The financial results for the first quarter reflect a 74 percent increase in separative work unit (SWU) revenue and a 179 percent increase in overall gross profit as a result of a higher gross profit margin. The gross profit margin was 6.9 percent in the first quarter of 2012 compared to 3.7 percent in the same quarter last year. Offsetting this improvement was higher advanced technology expense related to the research, development and demonstration (RD&D) program for the American Centrifuge technology proposed by the Department of Energy (DOE). Since the fourth quarter of 2011, USEC has expensed all American Centrifuge project costs, including interest expense that was previously capitalized. “Although we recorded a net loss in the first quarter, we are pleased to report higher revenue, a higher gross profit and gross profit margin, and positive cash flow from operations in the quarter compared to the first quarter of 2011,” said John K. Welch, USEC president and chief executive officer. “We have continued working toward the goals of the RD&D program with USEC funding, but to achieve the program’s goals, we need federal funds through 2013. We are pleased with the strong support and progress by House and Senate appropriators in the past week on fiscal 2013 funding. But, we are quickly running out of time to obtain the necessary fiscal 2012 funding. Our credit facility severely limits spending on the American Centrifuge project after May 31 unless we have federal RD&D funding in place. That means we need action this month, or we will be forced to demobilize the project,” Welch said.