HOME   WISE Uranium Project   >   Enrichment & Fuel Fab.   >   Issues   >   Conversion/Enrichment USA   >

Centrus Portsmouth "American Centrifuge Plant" project, USA

(last updated 13 Oct 2023)

Centrus Energy Corp. (formerly U.S. Enrichment Corporation)
USEC Inc SEC filings

Centrus "American Centrifuge Plant" project in Piketon, Ohio

General · Commercial Centrifuge Plant · Lead Cascade


High assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) production at American Centrifuge enrichment plant

(HALEU = Low-enriched uranium with an assay of the fissile uranium isotope U-235 greater than 5 and less than 20 weight-%)

> View more recent issues

NRC authorizes operation of HALEU demonstration cascade at American Centrifuge enrichment plant: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has authorized American Centrifuge Operating LLC to proceed with its planned demonstration project to produce high-assay low-enriched uranium, known as HALEU, under its contract with the Department of Energy.
The authorization signed Sept. 21 allows the company to possess and use enough uranium to perform Phase 1 of the company's contract with DOE, the production of 20 kilograms of HALEU. The company plans to enrich the uranium in its HALEU Demonstration Cascade module at the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio. HALEU is enriched up to 20 percent in the isotope U-235, higher than the typical 3-5 percent found in current nuclear reactor fuel.
> Download NRC release Sep. 23, 2023 (PDF)
> Download NRC authorization letter, Sep. 21, 2023 (PDF)

Centrus receives NRC approval to introduce uranium hexafluoride into HALEU demonstration cascade at American Centrifuge enrichment plant: On June 15, 2023, Centrus Energy Corp announced that it has successfully completed its operational readiness reviews with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and received NRC approval to possess uranium at the Piketon, Ohio site and introduce uranium into the cascade of centrifuges Centrus has constructed. This is a critical milestone in advancing toward first-of-a-kind production of High-Assay, Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU) and means that Centrus remains on track to begin production by the end of 2023.
> Download: NRC news release June 16, 2023 (PDF)
> Download: NRC authorization, June 12, 2023 (PDF)

NRC issues license extension to HALEU demonstration program at American Centrifuge plant until end 2024:
> Download: Approval of American Centrifuge Operating's request to extend the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's High Assay Low-Enriched Uranium Program authorization expiration date , NRC, Mar. 30, 2023

Centrus completes construction of HALEU demonstration cascade at American Centrifuge enrichment plant and mulls its extension: On Feb. 9, 2023, Centrus Energy Corp. announced that it has completed construction of a cascade of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges as well as most of the associated support systems. This milestone puts Centrus on track to begin demonstrating first-of-a-kind production of High-Assay, Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU) in Piketon, Ohio, by the end of 2023, after completing remaining support systems and obtaining final approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. [...]
Separate from the operations contract, Centrus is investigating the possibility to scale up the Piketon facility with additional centrifuge cascades for expanded HALEU production -- provided that sufficient funding or offtake contracts can be secured. A full-scale HALEU cascade, consisting of 120 individual centrifuge machines, with a combined capacity of approximately 6,000 kilograms of HALEU per year (6 MTU/year), could be brought online within about 42 months of securing the funding to do so.

Centrus submits license amendment request for HALEU production at American Centrifuge Plant:
> Download: License Amendment Request, Nov. 30, 2022 (23.6MB PDF)

DOE awards US$ 150 million for HALEU enrichment at American Centrifuge plant: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced an approximately $150 million cost-shared award with American Centrifuge Operating, LLC of Bethesda, Maryland, a subsidiary of Centrus Energy Corp, to demonstrate the nation's ability to produce high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) - a crucial material needed to develop and deploy advanced reactors in the United States. [...]
The award includes a $30 million cost share during the first year to start up and operate 16 advanced centrifuges in a cascade at an enrichment facility in Piketon, Ohio. American Centrifuge Operating will complete the final steps of centrifuge assembly and clear an operational readiness review to start up the demonstration cascade. They will meet the demonstration requirements by enriching uranium hexafluoride gas to produce 20 kilograms of 19.75% enriched HALEU by December 31, 2023. They will then continue production in 2024 at an annual production rate of 900 kilograms of HALEU per year, subject to appropriations, with additional options to produce more material under the contract in future years. Annual Congressional appropriations will inform the duration of the contract based on the availability of funding. (DOE Nov. 10, 2022)

NRC issues six-month license extension to HALEU demonstration program at American Centrifuge plant:
> Download: Approval of American Centrifuge Operating's request to extend the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's High Assay Low-Enriched Uranium Demonstration Program Authorization expiration date by 6 months , Aug. 11, 2022

DOE issues Pre-Solicitation Notice for completion of High Assay Low Enriched Uranium (HALEU) cascade demo and extended production: The DOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE) is funding a demonstration of high-assay low enriched uranium (HALEU) production. The demonstration was on schedule to produce between 200 kg and 600 kg of HALEU using 16 AC100M centrifuges by June 1, 2022, at the Piketon, Ohio, facility owned by DOE; however, the demonstration was affected by COVID-related supply chain cost and schedule issues near the completion of the work and the Administration supports longer-term demonstration of production capability. The HALEU enrichment demonstration contract was initially planned to conclude in June 2022; however, it is in the process of being adjusted to allow for a competition for the continuation of the demonstration program. These adjustments were necessary to acknowledge the supply chain issues and increased requirements for a material storage area.
The new contract will be a competitive award in early 2022 to complete the HALEU demonstration and produce HALEU in the most expeditious manner possible.
The HALEU demonstration was begun in May 2019 under contract to DOE. This new procurement will require the successful bidder to complete construction of the AC100M cascade and operate the completed cascade to demonstrate HALEU production at a minimum annual rate of 900 Kg 19.75% U-235. This contract will require the successful bidder to produce a minimum of 900 Kg UF6 enriched to a nominal 19.75% U-235 during each year of operations. DOE acknowledges it could take up to 1 year to begin demonstration of HALEU production but encourages production as expeditiously as possible. [...]
> View: Pre-Solicitation Notice , Feb. 7, 2022

Centrus requests early authorization to introduce UF6 into American Centrifuge HALEU Demonstration cascade:
> Download: Centrus Energy letter to NRC , Sep. 27, 2021

HALEU cascade at American Centrifuge plant to be operational by 2022: "Despite the impact of the pandemic [...] we have kept construction on track and expect to begin producing HALEU [high assay low-enriched uranium] by next year," said Centrus President and CEO Daniel B. Poneman.
Under a 2019 contract with the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy, Centrus is licensing and constructing a cascade of sixteen AC100M centrifuges -- a U.S. technology -- to demonstrate production of HALEU. (Centrus Energy Mar. 23, 2021)

Centrus requests License Amendment for HALEU fuel enrichment at American Centrifuge plant:
> Download: License Amendment Request, Apr. 22, 2020: Cover letter (456kB PDF) · License Application: Part 1 (95MB PDF), Part 2 (95MB PDF) · Quality Assurance Program Description (12.6MB PDF)
> Download: Supplemental Proposed Changes to License Application , Mar. 17, 2021 (146MB PDF)
> Download: License Application for the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio, Revision 54 , May 2021 (24.3MB PDF)
> Download: Environmental Assessment for the proposed amendment of License No. SNM-2011 , U.S. NRC, June 2021
> Federal Register Volume 86, Number 112 (Monday, June 14, 2021) p. 31539 (download full text )
> Access Docket ID NRC-2021-0058

On June 11, 2021, NRC approved the license amendment to operate sixteen centrifuges to demonstrate production of high-assay low-enriched uranium.
> Download: License Amendment 13 and Safety Evaluation Report , June 11, 2021

On Mar. 15, 2022, Ohio Nuclear-Free Network and Beyond Nuclear filed an appeal against the license amendment before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (Case No. 21-1162).
> Download: Petitioners' Proof Brief (PDF)

MPs question DOE's contract with Centrus Energy subsidiary for HALEU fuel fabrication system: The chairs and ranking members of two House Science, Space, and Technology subcommittees have asked the Department of Energy to justify the October award of a $115 million contract to Centrus Energy to demonstrate technology for producing a specialized nuclear fuel for advanced reactors. The bipartisan quartet questioned DOE's decision to bypass competitive bids for the work; expressed skepticism over the need for the fuel, known as high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU); and asked why DOE's civilian nuclear program was tapped to pay for a program that ultimately will be of far greater benefit to defense applications.
HALEU is enriched in isotope uranium-235 up to 19.75% -- just below the 20% threshold that defines highly enriched uranium (HEU). Some designs for advanced reactors would require enrichment levels above the 4–5% that fuels the existing fleet of US commercial reactors. (Physics Today Jan. 1, 2020)

Centrus Energy signs contract with DOE for demonstration of high assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) production at American Centrifuge enrichment plant: Centrus Energy announced Wednesday (Nov. 6) that it has signed a three-year contract with the U.S. Department of Energy that will result in deployment of a cascade of centrifuge machines to demonstrate production of high-assay, low-enriched uranium fuel for advanced nuclear reactors, including those used in the country's nuclear naval fleet. (Chillicothe Gazette Nov. 7, 2019)

Withdrawal of license termination request for American Centrifuge Lead Cascade Facility in view of HALEU project:
> View here

DOE contracts Centrus Energy subsidiary for HALEU fuel fabrication system: A subsidiary of global nuclear fuel provider Centrus Energy received a $115M contract to demonstrate a method of producing high-assay low-enriched (HALEU) uranium to support the Department of Energy's research and development work on advanced nuclear reactors.
DOE asked American Centrifuge Operating to deploy a HALEU fabrication system by June 2022 and establish approaches to utilize U.S.-made technology in production efforts, according to a FedBizOpps notice posted Friday (May 31). (GovCon Wire June 2, 2019)

DOE intends to invest US$ 115 million for demonstration of high assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) production at American Centrifuge enrichment plant: The Nuclear Energy Oak Ridge Site Office (NE-ORSO) of the Department of Energy (DOE) plans to contract with American Centrifuge Operating LLC (ACO), a subsidiary of Centrus Energy Corp., for the demonstration of high assay low enriched uranium (HALEU) production to support DOE research and development activities and programs. The HALEU Demonstration Program has two primary objectives:

  1. Deployment of a 16 machine AC-100M HALEU Cascade producing a 19.75% U-235 enriched product by October 2020; and
  2. Demonstration of the capability to produce HALEU with existing U.S.-origin enrichment technology, and provide DOE with a small quantity of HALEU beginning in 2020 for use in its research and development for the advancement of civilian nuclear energy and security, and other programmatic missions.
The period of performance for this award is anticipated to be January 2019 - December 2020 with a one year option.
> View: DOE Notice of Intent to Sole Source, Jan. 7, 2019

> See also: High Assay Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU)

Commercial Centrifuge Plant

NRC Docket No. , License No. SNM-2011
USEC Inc. Gas Centrifuge Enrichment Facility Licensing (NRC)


NRC identifies undisclosed violations at American Centrifuge plant

> Download: Special Inspection Report 07007004/2023401 And Apparent Violations , Mar. 30, 2023 (PDF)


Cylinder damage leads to small release of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) at American Centrifuge plant

At 1522 EST on February 18, 2023, the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant declared a Site Area Emergency after transport equipment contacted a uranium hexafluoride (UF6) cylinder in storage. The contact cracked a weld on a stiffening ring on the cylinder. Initial reports indicated there was a small amount of UF6 released. The release was minimal and contained on the facility. Staff were directed to shelter in place. No off-site release occurred, and no off-site protective actions were recommended.
> View: Event Notification Report for February 21, 2023, Event Number: 56372 (NRC)


NRC issues two Notices of Violation regarding protection of classified information on American Centrifuge uranium enrichment project

During an information security inspection conducted on May 5, 2016, at the CENTRUS headquarters facility in Bethesda, MD, NRC identified two Severity Level IV violations of NRC requirements: the failure to properly mark classified drafts and working papers, and, processing of classified information on an automatic data processing system that was not approved by the cognizant security agency.
> Download NRC letter June 6, 2016


Department of Energy is recommending to end American Centrifuge uranium enrichment project

Lawmakers Friday (Sep. 11) received word that the Energy Department has decided to end a contract to test and demonstrate new uranium centrifuge technology that Ohio lawmakers had hoped would be a boon for southern Ohio's economy. The Energy Department decision would essentially stop the centrifuges from spinning while preserving them for possible future use. (Columbus Dispatch Sep. 11, 2015)


U.S. Government continues funding of demonstration program for American Centrifuge Technology

The FY2015 omnibus appropriations bill signed by President Obama on December 16 provides $97.2 million in funding for domestic uranium enrichment research, development and demonstration. This appropriation will fully fund the continuation of the American Centrifuge Technology Demonstration and Operations (ACTDO) agreement for the remainder of the federal government's fiscal year through September 30, 2015. (Centrus Energy Corp. Dec. 17, 2014)


Enrichment company USEC Inc. emerges from bankruptcy under new name Centrus Energy Corp.

> View here


DOE to take over American Centrifuge Plant project from bankrupt USEC

The U.S. Department of Energy will take over the management of a proposed uranium-enrichment plant in southern Ohio in order to continue the project, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said today (Apr. 2).
Testifying before a House Appropriations subcommittee, Moniz said the department - through its Oak Ridge (Tenn.) National Laboratory - will take over management of the American Centrifuge Project in Piketon. "We have to preserve the technology, we have to preserve the (intellectual property) and we have to think about how we are going to go ahead to meet our national-security obligations," Moniz said. (Columbus Dispatch Apr. 2, 2014)


Enrichment company USEC files for bankruptcy

> View here

Enrichment company USEC expects to file for bankruptcy in first quarter of 2014

> View here


Department of Energy to extend funding of American Centrifuge project for three months

USEC Inc. was informed today by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) that it is prepared to extend the American Centrifuge cooperative research, development and demonstration program for three months beyond January 15, 2014, subject to Congressional appropriations. DOE and USEC will share costs of the program on an 80-percent/20-percent basis for a total funding level of approximately $10 million per month. (USEC Dec. 18, 2013)


Commercialization of American Centrifuge Plant not economically viable without additional government support

USEC Inc. stated this week that additional government funding might be needed beyond the American Centrifuge Plant's ongoing research, development and demonstration work to keep the project moving toward full commercial deployment. The company talked about the need in its announcement of third-quarter financial results this week, stating it has been experiencing cost pressures because of delays over time in deploying the centrifuge project amid changing market conditions.
"The economics of the project are severely challenged by the current supply/demand imbalance in the market for low-enriched uranium and related downward pressure on spot market prices for (Separative Work Units, the measure of product produced that is used to fuel nuclear power plants), which are now at their lowest levels in more than a decade," a news release from the company stated. "At current market prices, we do not believe that our plans for (the American Centrifuge Plant) commercialization are economically viable without additional government support." (Chillicothe Gazette Nov. 5, 2013)


U.S. House of Representatives rejects proposal to cut funding for American Centrifuge Plant

The House today overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to strip $48 million from a proposed uranium centrifuge in Piketon, Ohio. The money, tucked into a $30 billion bill for federal energy and water projects, would pay for the completion of a research and development project at a proposed uranium centrifuge in Piketon. (Columbus Dispatch July 10, 2013)


Commercial demonstration cascade of American Centrifuge enrichment plant project completed

On Apr. 3, 2013, USEC Inc. announced that it has completed the construction of its 120-machine American Centrifuge commercial demonstration cascade.


DOE and USEC announce deal to provide more funds for development of American Centrifuge project

After years of waiting, the Energy Department and USEC Inc. have announced a deal that will provide money for a uranium centrifuge plant in Piketon. The announcement came Wednesday (June 13) morning and said the two entities signed agreements to bring $350 million for research and development in the American Centrifuge project in Piketon.
According to the agreement, DOE will provide 80 percent of the $350 million, while USEC will provide the remaining 20 percent, or about $70 million. DOE will provide $88 million in the first year to take and dispose uranium tails from USEC, which will provide $22 million for the first phase. The funding has been approved by the House and the Senate Appropriations Committee, but hasn't been finalized. (Chillicothe Gazette June 13, 2012)


House Appropriations subcommittee approves $100 million for American Centrifuge project

A key House committee yesterday (Apr. 18) agreed to include $100 million in a spending bill for the struggling uranium-enrichment plant in Piketon, a move that could keep it alive. The House Appropriations subcommittee on energy and water approved spending the money on the American Centrifuge Plant at the request of House Speaker John Boehner, R-West Chester, and Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Bainbridge Township, according to a Capitol Hill source. The move by the subcommittee is likely to be approved by the full House.
The $100 million is just part of what USEC - a Maryland-based company that would operate the plant - has said it needs to launch the project. USEC had urged the Obama administration during the past three years to approve a $2 billion loan guarantee. (The Columbus Dispatch April 19, 2012)
As expected, President Barack Obama recently signed a six-month continuing resolution on a spending measure that contains an annual rate of funding of $100 million for the ongoing RD&D program. USEC's cost share is 20 percent of the full RD&D program. (Chillicothe Gazette Oct. 2, 2012)


American Centrifuge project offered short-term funding fix

Federal energy officials have agreed to give USEC access to $44 million in research and development funds needed for its Piketon uranium enrichment initiative. That money is enough to keep USEC's American Centrifuge Project alive for another few months, buying crucial time for Congress to find another $106 million needed to ensure the technology is viable and push the project toward commercialization.
In a letter to Sen. Sherrod Brown on Friday (Jan. 13), Energy Secretary Steven Chu said his department would assume liability for $44 million of USEC assets in the form of uranium "tails," a byproduct of enrichment. That will free up money on USEC's books, allowing the company to continue funding the centrifuge research in the short run. (Chillicothe Gazette Jan. 14, 2012)


U.S. Government to fund further development of American Centrifuge Plant

The Department of Energy said Friday (Oct. 21) that it plans to work with the developer of a uranium enrichment project in southern Ohio on research and development to reduce technical and financial risks that have held up the developer's application for a $2 billion loan guarantee.
The loan guarantee application from USEC Inc. is still pending. But, the government and the Bethesda, Md. -based developer of the planned American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon have agreed on a potential project that would involve testing and building clusters of machines used to enrich uranium, Richard Kauffman, senior adviser to the Energy secretary told The Associated Press on Friday. The government's part of the funding of the research and development would be capped at $300 million and would have to be approved by congressional committees. (Washington Post Oct. 21, 2011)


NRC provides opportunity to request a hearing and provide comments on proposed license transfer of American Centrifuge Plant to USEC subsidiary

The Licensee requests NRC consent to transfer control of License Nos. SNM- 7003 and SNM-2011 from USEC Inc. to the subsidiary limited liability company, American Centrifuge Operating, LLC.
A request for a hearing must be filed by December 7, 2010.
Written comments must be submitted no later than December 17, 2010.

Federal Register: November 17, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 221) p. 70300-70304 (download full text )
> Regulations Docket ID NRC-2010-0355


Toshiba and Babcock & Wilcox to invest into USEC

Japan's Toshiba Corp said on Monday (May 25) that it and U.S.-based Babcock & Wilcox will together invest $200 million in USEC Inc in return for a supply of enriched uranium for use in nuclear power generation. Toshiba and Babcock, which will share the investment equally, are eyeing the new uranium enrichment technology at USEC, the biggest supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants in the United Sates. USEC is currently developing advanced centrifuges and the U.S. government is considering issuing a loan to help with the company's new plant. (Reuters May 25, 2010)


First cascade of "Production-Ready" centrifuges begins operation at USEC's American Centrifuge Plant project

On March 16, 2010, USEC Inc. announced a major step in the American Centrifuge program with the operation of a cascade of AC100 centrifuge machines in a commercial-plant configuration in Piketon, Ohio. USEC refers to its production centrifuge machine design as the AC100 series centrifuge machine.


USEC gets $45 million in federal aid for American Centrifuge Plant - in exchange for depleted uranium tails [!]

Its bid for a $2 billion federal loan guarantee is still pending, but the company trying to build a $3.5 billion uranium-enrichment plant in Piketon, Ohio, will get a promised infusion of $45 million from the Department of Energy. The promise to USEC was made in August when the Energy Department turned down the loan-guarantee application, with federal officials saying they didn't think the technology had been proven commercially viable. USEC says the loan guarantee is critical to its ability to build the plant, and the company won a temporary reprieve and the ability to reapply for the loan guarantee at a later date. That reapplication is expected to happen this year. In the meantime, the $45 million will help USEC keep working on the plant's technology, and the company says it will match the federal money with $45 million of its own.
The federal cash comes from the Energy Department assuming $45 million worth of depleted uranium "tails" counted on USEC's books as a liability [!]. (Columbus Dispatch Feb. 1, 2010 - emphasis added)


U.S. Government denies loan guarantee for American Centrifuge Plant project in Piketon, Ohio; USEC initiates "demobilization"

The Obama administration will not grant a $2 billion loan guarantee for a planned uranium-enrichment facility in Piketon, Ohio, causing the initiative to go into financial meltdown, the company and independent sources confirmed last night. The U.S. Department of Energy's decision means "we are now forced to initiate steps to demobilize the project," said Elizabeth Stuckle, a spokeswoman for USEC. (Columbus Dispatch July 28, 2009)


USEC is preparing "demobilization plans" for the American Centrifuge Plant in case it won't receive loan guarantee

On July 6, 2009, USEC announced that at the direction of its board of directors it is preparing demobilization plans for the American Centrifuge Plant if it does not receive a conditional commitment for a U.S. DOE loan guarantee by early August.


USEC Inc. and B&W to create centrifuge manufacturing company

On May 12, 2009, USEC Inc. and Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services Group, Inc., an operating unit of The Babcock & Wilcox Company (B&W), announced the companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture that will provide integrated manufacturing and assembly of AC100 centrifuge machines for USEC's American Centrifuge Plant.


NRC issues Notice of request for written consent to transfer control of materials license and opportunity to request a hearing for USEC's American Centrifuge plant project

Notice of request for written consent to transfer control of materials license and opportunity to request a hearing and provide written comments.
A request for a hearing must be filed by May 14, 2009.
Federal Register: April 24, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 78) p. 18749-18751 (download full text )

By letter dated November 25, 2009 (ADAMS Accession No. ML093350026 ), USEC withdrew its request.
Federal Register: December 17, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 241) p. 66997-66998 (download full text )


USEC increases estimated cost of centrifuge uranium enrichment plant

The company building a proposed uranium-enrichment plant in southern Ohio says the project's cost has jumped to $3.5 billion -- more than double the original estimate. (Associated Press, February 26, 2008)


USEC starts construction of American Centrifuge Plant

On May 31, 2007, USEC announced the begin of construction on its American Centrifuge uranium enrichment plant in Piketon, Ohio. The company is "working toward beginning" commercial plant operations in late 2009 and having approximately 11,500 machines deployed in 2012, which would provide about 3.8 million separative work units (SWU) of production based on current estimates of machine output and plant availability.
USEC expects to operate a Lead Cascade of centrifuge machines in the American Centrifuge Demonstration Facility in Piketon in mid-2007.


USEC Receives American Centrifuge Plant License

On April 13, 2007, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a construction and operating license for USEC Inc.'s American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio.
> View NRC release Apr. 13, 2007


USEC reports cost increase and delay for American Centrifuge enrichment plant project

The projected costs for the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon have swollen by a third, and its owner is seeking "some form of investment or other participation" from other companies and the federal government to keep the uranium enrichment project afloat beyond this year. USEC Inc. reported on Feb. 12, 2007, that the projected costs for the plant have increased from $1.7 billion to $2.3 billion. The company also said the plant's estimated completion date for the plant was pushed back by a year, to 2012. But it said tests show that the state-of-the-art centrifuge machines perform 10 percent better than previously thought, and are more than eight times more efficient than the machines of its closest competitor. (Dayton Daily News Feb. 13, 2007)


NRC releases Safety Evaluation Report for the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio

The report documents the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff review and safety and safeguards evaluation of USEC Inc.'s application for a license to construct a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment facility and possess and use special nuclear material (SNM), source material, and byproduct material.
The NRC staff concludes, in this safety evaluation report, that the applicant's descriptions, specifications, and analyses provide an adequate basis for safety and safeguards of facility operations and that operation of the facility does not pose an undue risk to worker and public health and safety.

Federal Register: September 22, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 184) p. 55515 (download full text )
> View NRC release Sep 12, 2006
> Download Safety Evaluation Report for the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio, NUREG-1851, September 2006: NRC website · ADAMS (Accession No. ML062490544)
> Download Draft Safety Evaluation Report for the American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio, NUREG-1851, August 2006: ADAMS (Accession No. ML062440072)


EPA finds concern on proposed depleted uranium disposition unresolved

By letter dated June 19, 2006, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finds that concerns regarding the depleted disposition remain unresolved in the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed American Centrifuge plant (ACP): "The U.S. Department of Energy's planned depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) conversion facility may not have sufficient capacity to process (1) the substantial amounts of DUF6 to be generated by ACP, plus (2) the substantial amounts of DUF6 existing at the Portsmouth Reservation."
"Depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) is a corrosive and reactive hazardous material until converted into a more stable form for long-term storage and disposal. DOE has plans to build a DUF6 conversion facility at Portsmouth to process the 450,000 metric tons of DUF6 generated from 50 years of previous uranium enrichment activities at the site, expected to operate until 2024. The ACP is expected to operate until 2039 and generate 571,000 metric tons of DUF6.
DOE is likely to be the only entity performing DUF6 conversion on this large of a scale due to their obligation to accept DUF6 tails from generators under the USEC Privatization Act. If DOE is to process all of the DUF6 from past operations, and process all of the ACP-generated DUF6, then, as NRC's response to comments state, DOE would have to install additional conversion lines, or extend the DUF6 conversion facility's operating life from 2024 to 2077. What this amounts to is that if DOE doesn't have the adequate capacity to process DUF6 at rates adequate to address legacy inventories and the ACP's DUF6 generation rate, corrosive and reactive hazardous DUF6 may require storage and management for up to 38 years until converted into a safe and stable form. [...]" (emphasis added)

> Download: Re: Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed American Centrifuge Plant, Pike County, Ohio, NUREG-1834, EIS No. 20060189 ; EPA Region 5 letter, June 19, 2006 (ADAMS - ML061840611)


NRC releases final Environmental Impact Statement

On May 9, 2006, NRC released the final Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed American Centrifuge Plant.

> Download Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio (NUREG-1834)
> View NRC release May 10, 2006
> Federal Register: May 15, 2006 (Volume 71, Number 93) p. 28054-28055 (download full text )


NRC releases draft Environmental Impact Statement for Comment

On Sep. 1, 2005, NRC released the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed American Centrifuge Plant for comment.

Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio (NUREG-1834) - Draft for Comment
> Federal Register: September 8, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 173) p. 53396-53398 (download full text )
> View NRC release Sep. 14, 2005


USEC signs agreements with Boeing and Honeywell on centrifuge manufacturing

On Oct. 27, 2004, USEC Inc. announced that it has signed agreements with the Boeing Company and Honeywell International to support the manufacture of uranium enrichment machines for USEC's American Centrifuge program. (USEC Oct. 27, 2004)


NRC issues Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed USEC American Centrifuge Plant

NRC will conduct public scoping meetings on November 15, 2004 and on January 18, 2005.
Written comments should be submitted by February 1, 2005 (comment period extended).
Federal Register: October 15, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 199) p. 61268-61270 (download full text )
Federal Register: December 29, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 249) p. 78058-78059 (download full text )


NRC to hold hearing on USEC application for commercial centrifuge enrichment plant

The NRC will hold a hearing on USEC Inc.'s application to build a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment plant in Piketon, Ohio, and invites those who may be affected by the proceeding to seek permission to participate in the hearing.

Any person whose interest may be affected and who wishes to participate as a party in the hearing proceeding must file a petition to intervene by December 17, 2004.

Federal Register: October 18, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 200) p. 61411-61416 (download full text )
> View NRC release Oct. 7, 2004
> Download USEC application (Aug. 23, 2004)


USEC files license application for commercial centrifuge enrichment plant

On August 23, 2004, USEC filed with NRC the license application for its commercial centrifuge enrichment plant project "American Centrifuge Plant " in Piketon, Ohio. The plant will be housed in existing process buidlings leased from DOE and is expected to be operational by the end of the decade. USEC seeks an initial annual production capacity of 3.5 million SWU (separative work units). (USEC Aug. 23, 2004)


USEC selects Portsmouth as site for centrifuge enrichment plant

On Jan. 12, 2004, USEC announced that it has chosen Piketon, Ohio as the site for its so-called "American Centrifuge" commercial uranium enrichment plant project. The plant is expected to reach an initial annual production level of 3.5 million SWU by 2010, at costs of up to $1.5 billion. USEC plans to submit its license application for the plant to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in August 2004.
In 2005, USEC expects to begin operating the American Centrifuge Demonstration Facility. The demonstration facility, also to be sited in Piketon, will contain a lead cascade of full-size centrifuge machines. A lead cascade is the basic building block of a commercial enrichment plant.


Lead Cascade

NRC Docket No. , License No. SNM-7003
USEC Inc. Gas Centrifuge Enrichment Facility Licensing (NRC)

  > View more recent issues


Lead cascade of American Centrifuge Plant shut down

Centrus Energy Corp. announced on Feb. 19, 2016, that it has completed operations of its demonstration cascade of American Centrifuge machines at its facility in Piketon, Ohio.
"DOE announced in September 2015 that it would not fund additional demonstration at Piketon after September 30, 2015, because the cascade had successfully delivered the necessary operational data. Since that time, Centrus has funded ongoing operations while exploring other potential uses for the facility and its unique workforce. Centrus will demobilize the demonstration cascade and reduce its workforce at Piketon starting with the layoff of approximately 60 employees during the week of February 29. In the coming weeks, the Company will begin decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) activities of the demonstration cascade in accordance with its NRC license for the demonstration facility."


NRC provides opportunity to request a hearing and provide comments on proposed license transfer of American Centrifuge Plant to USEC subsidiary

> see here


NRC takes regulatory oversight of USEC lead cascade, authorizes processing of radioactive material

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has assumed regulatory oversight responsibility of USEC Inc.'s American Centrifuge Lead Cascade Facility in Piketon, Ohio, and has authorized USEC to process uranium at the facility.
The transition of regulatory oversight to the NRC from the U.S. Department of Energy was finalized in a letter to USEC signed on Aug. 24, 2006, by Robert Pierson, director of the NRC's Division of Fuel Cycle Safety and Safeguards, and Larry Clark, director of DOE's Office of Nuclear Fuel Security and Uranium Technology. The transfer becomes effective at 12:01 a.m. on Aug. 25, 2006.
> View NRC News Release Aug. 24, 2006


NRC issues license for USEC lead cascade centrifuge enrichment facility

On February 24, 2004, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a license to the U.S. Enrichment Corporation Inc. (USEC) to construct and operate a uranium enrichment test and demonstration facility at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant site in Piketon, Ohio.
> Download Materials License SNM-7003 (PDF, ADAMS Accession No. ML040550379)

> View NRC release Feb. 25, 2004


NRC releases Environmental Assessment and issues Finding of No Significant Impact for USEC's Lead Cascade Facility

Federal Register: January 27, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 17) p. 3956-3957 (download full text )
> View NRC release Jan. 29, 2004

> Download: Environmental Assessment of the USEC American Centrifuge Lead Cascade Facility at Portsmouth, Ohio, January 2004 (NRC ADAMS: ML040160806 , or DOE NEPA: DOE/EA-1495 )


Draft Memorandum of Understanding between DOE, Oak Ridge Operations, and NRC on USEC's Lead Cascade Facility

On Sep. 22, 2003, NRC provided USEC with a Draft Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Energy, Oak Ridge Operations, and NRC: COOPERATION REGARDING THE GAS CENTRIFUGE LEAD CASCADE FACILITIES AT THE PORTSMOUTH GASEOUS DIFFUSION PLANT.


USEC ahead of schedule with centrifuge enrichment demonstration project

"A successful year of experience with its American Centrifuge has given USEC the confidence to accelerate its schedule for commercial plant deployment by one year. [...] We now plan to submit our commercial plant NRC license application in August 2004, seven months ahead of schedule." (USEC July 30, 2003)


USEC ends funding of research on SILEX enrichment process and focuses on centrifuge technology

> view details


NRC announces opportunity for hearing re USEC's Centrifuge License Application

Federal Register: April 9, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 68) p. 17414 (download full text )

No petitions for a hearing were received by NRC within the allotted time period.

NRC Accepts USEC’s Centrifuge License Application For Technical Review

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has completed its initial review of USEC Inc.’s license application for the American Centrifuge Demonstration Facility in Piketon, Ohio and found the application acceptable for technical review. (USEC Mar 14, 2003)

USEC Files Application with NRC to License Centrifuge Enrichment Demonstration Facility

On Feb. 12, 2003, USEC Inc. submitted a license application to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to construct and operate the so-called American Centrifuge Demonstration Facility at its Portsmouth plant in Piketon, Ohio. "Scheduled to begin operation in 2005, the demonstration facility will contain a lead cascade of up to 240 centrifuge machines, the first new centrifuge enrichment machines in the United States. The lead cascade is the basic building block of a commercial enrichment plant. It will yield cost, schedule and performance data before USEC begins construction of a $1 billion to $1.5 billion commercial plant later in the decade."
As of March 24, 2003, the license application is available for download from ADAMS .

USEC sites centrifuge test facility in Portsmouth, Ohio

On Dec. 4, 2002, USEC Inc. announced that it will site its Lead Cascade centrifuge uranium enrichment test facility at its Portsmouth plant in Piketon, Ohio.

DOE releases Environmental Assessment for the Leasing of Centrifuge Facilities and Equipment to USEC Inc.

DOE/EA-1451, Environmental Assessment for the Leasing of Facilities and Equipment to USEC Inc., October 2002.
"The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Oak Ridge Operations Office (DOE-ORO) has prepared this Environmental Assessment (EA) for the lease of facilities and equipment to USEC Inc. (USEC), which would be used in its Gas Centrifuge Research and Development (R&D) Project at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) [hereinafter referred to as the USEC EA]. The USEC EA analyzes the potential environmental impacts of DOE leasing facility K-101 and portions of K-1600, K-1220 and K-1037 at the ETTP to USEC for a minimum 3-year period, with additional option periods consistent with the Oak Ridge Accelerated Clean-up Plan (ACP) Agreement. In July 2002, USEC notified DOE that it intends to use certain leased equipment at an off-site facility at the Centrifuge Technology Center (CTC) on the Boeing Property. The purpose of the USEC Gas Centrifuge R&D Project is to develop an economically attractive gas centrifuge machine and process using DOE’s centrifuge technology. This EA is prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, P.L. 91-190, 42 U.S. C. §4321 et seq."
> Download full report (7.8M PDF)

USEC and DOE sign agreement on construction of centrifuge enrichment plant

The Energy Department announced on June 18, 2002, it had signed an agreement with USEC Inc., of Bethesda, Md., for the company to build a new centrifuge uranium enrichment plant in either Kentucky or Ohio within a decade.
Other terms of the agreement cover the delivery of Russian warhead material under the Megatons to Megawatts program, the continued operation of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant until the new plant is operational, and the remediation or replacement of out-of-specification uranium transfered to USEC. In exchange for USEC's expected expenses of $21 million necessary for the latter, the government will take possession of three years worth of depleted uranium tails from the USEC production process.

> View DOE release June 18, 2002 · USEC release June 18, 2002

USEC revives centrifuge enrichment technology plans

On October 2, 2001, Dennis Spurgeon, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of USEC Inc. presented a speech at Nuclear Energy Institute's International Uranium Fuel Seminar 2001 on USEC's efforts to develop more efficient enrichment technologies. While, in the long term, USEC still pursues the development of the SILEX laser-based enrichment technology, USEC now also is working to revive in the mid term the centrifuge enrichment project shelved by DOE in 1985. USEC believes that, with today's technology, the centrifuges developed by DOE can now be manufactured at significantly lower cost, reducing the capital cost per SWU to about half that of competitors.
USEC plans to demonstrate centrifuge performance in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Based on the success, a "lead cascade" of centrifuges will be built and operated at a gaseous diffusion plant. Later, construction of a commercial centrifuge plant is planned, incrementally replacing the current gaseous diffusion enrichment capacity.
> Download full text of the speech

HOME   WISE Uranium Project   >   Enrichment & Fuel Fab.   >   Issues   >   Conversion/Enrichment USA   >