USEC Inc. (NYSE:USU) today announced that its American Centrifuge project for uranium enrichment has surpassed one million hours of machine run-time in its Lead Cascade test program. USEC has operated centrifuge machines at its American Centrifuge Demonstration Facility in Piketon, Ohio since August 2007. “One million hours of run-time is a testament to the robustness of this leading-edge technology and a great accomplishment for our team,” said Dan Rogers, general manager of American Centrifuge Plant operations. “With this experience in the demonstration facility, we have improved the technology and gained extensive knowledge and operating data.” USEC continues work on a research, development and demonstration (RD&D) program proposed by the Department of Energy (DOE) to enhance the technical and financial readiness of the centrifuge technology for commercialization. “One million hours of run-time gives us great confidence in the machine technology and design. The RD&D program that we are working on will provide further demonstration of the technology’s readiness for commercialization and serves as a bridge to commercial deployment,” added John K. Welch, USEC president and chief executive officer. The proposed RD&D program scope is to construct and operate a demonstration cascade of 120 commercial centrifuge machines. The RD&D program is expected to establish the high-confidence level in cascade reliability required by DOE to support loan guarantee financing for the commercial plant. The RD&D program will also build out and demonstrate the redundant cascade support systems that will be installed in the commercial plant. USEC has already invested more than $2 billion in the American Centrifuge project, and will continue funding the RD&D program through the end of May. After May 31, the company’s credit facility will impose tight restrictions on American Centrifuge project spending absent a definitive agreement with DOE for federal funding of the RD&D program. While Congress is pursuing program funding as part of the fiscal year 2013 budget process, federal funding for the RD&D program is not yet available from June 1 through October 1. Without federal funding, USEC will likely begin to demobilize the project in June.
When commercially deployed, the American Centrifuge project will support approximately 8,000 jobs across the country, especially in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Alabama, Tennessee, Michigan and Indiana. It will also preserve the U.S. government’s ability to produce enriched uranium to support U.S. national security needs.USEC Inc., a global energy company, is a leading supplier of enriched uranium fuel and nuclear industry related services for commercial nuclear power plants. Forward Looking Statements This news release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 – that is, statements related to future events. In this context, forward-looking statements may address our expected future business and financial performance, and often contain words such as “expects”, “anticipates”, “intends”, “plans”, “believes”, “will” and other words of similar meaning. Forward-looking statements by their nature address matters that are, to different degrees, uncertain. For USEC, particular risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in our forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: risks related to the ongoing transition of our business, including uncertainty regarding the transition of the Paducah gaseous diffusion plant and uncertainty regarding continued funding for the American Centrifuge project and the impact of decisions we may make in the near term on our business and prospects; the outcome of ongoing discussions with DOE regarding the RD&D program, including uncertainty regarding the timing, amount and availability of funding for such RD&D program and the dependency of government funding on Congressional appropriations; restrictions in our credit facility on our spending on the American Centrifuge project after May 31, 2012 and the potential for us to demobilize the project; the impact of any conditions that are placed on us or on the American Centrifuge project in connection with or as a condition to the RD&D program or other funding, including a restructuring of our role and investment in the project; limitations on our ability to provide any required cost sharing under the RD&D program; the ultimate success of efforts to obtain a DOE loan guarantee for the American Centrifuge project, including the ability through the RD&D program or otherwise to address the concerns raised by DOE with respect to the financial and project execution depth of the project, and the timing and terms thereof; the impact of actions we have taken or may take to reduce spending on the American Centrifuge project, including the potential loss of key suppliers and employees, and impacts to cost and schedule; the impact of delays in the American Centrifuge project and uncertainty regarding our ability to remobilize the project; changes in U.S. government priorities and the availability of government funding, including loan guarantees; uncertainty regarding the continued capitalization of certain assets related to the American Centrifuge Plant and the impact of a potential impairment of these assets on our results of operations; and other risks and uncertainties discussed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, which are available on our website at www.usec.com. We do not undertake to update our forward-looking statements except as required by law.