United States Enrichment Corporation
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|Founded||1992 (as USEC)|
|John Castellano, Interim President and CEO |
|Products||Industrial Metals & Minerals|
|Revenue||$218.4 million (2016)|
|$12.2 million (2016)|
|Total assets||$675.3 million (2016)|
Number of employees
|2,949 (in 2010)|
The United States Enrichment Corporation, a subsidiary of Centrus Energy Corp. (formerly USEC Inc.), is a corporation that contracts with the United States Department of Energy to produce enriched uranium for use in nuclear power plants.
The Energy Policy Act of 1992, a U.S. federal law, created USEC to privatize uranium enrichment for civilian use, and in July 1993 USEC took over the facilities. The sale of USEC was completed on July 28, 1998 through an initial public offering of USEC stock. The U.S. government received about three billion dollars for USEC.
USEC had gaseous diffusion plants at Piketon, Ohio near Portsmouth. The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission assumed regulatory authority over the Portsmouth facility in March of 1997 and on June 5, 1998 the agency made an investigation into alleged "failure to control components with uranium deposits, inadequate maintenance, testing and operation of safety valves on equipment, and exceeding the possession limit for uranium enriched greater than 20 percent." In May 2001, USEC ceased uranium enrichment operations in Piketon and consolidated operations in Paducah, Kentucky. The following year, transfer and shipping operations were also consolidated at Paducah.
A demonstration gas centrifuge plant was being built at Piketon for initial commercial operation in 2009, with a full-size plant is planned there for operation in 2012. However, in July 2009 the DOE did 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 USEC spokesperson Elizabeth Stuckle said, adding "we are now forced to initiate steps to demobilize the project."
On July 28, 2009, the company said that it was suspending work on the project because of the Department of Energy's decision not to provide loan guarantees. The Energy Department said that the proposed plant was not ready for commercial production and therefore ineligible for the loan guarantees. The department said that if USEC withdraws its application, it will receive $45 million over the next 18 months to conduct further research.
Before its downsizing and final cessation of uranium enrichment on May 31, 2013, the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant consumed about 3,000 megawatts of electricity at peak operation. Power for the Paducah gaseous diffusion plant came from the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). In 2012 the majority of the TVA grid was generated by coal fired plants, with three nuclear power plants counting for about 30 percent of TVA's energy.
The Department of Energy remains responsible for clean-up of the sites of materials left there prior to 1993.
On December 16, 2013, USEC announced that it had reached an agreement with a majority of its debt holders to file a prearranged and voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring in the first quarter of 2014. On September 30, 2014, executives announced that the company had emerged from bankruptcy proceedings with a new name, Centrus Energy Corp.
- "Centrus Officers". Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- "Form 10-K for the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2010". USEC. February 24, 2011.
- United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 29 May 1998. (Press Release). NRC website Retrieved 8 November 2019.
- "USEC Portsmouth "American Centrifuge Plant" project, USA". wise-uranium.org. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
- "Dispatch Politics". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
- "USEC loan guarantee application rejected; shares plunge". Washington Business Journal. Retrieved 21 September 2014.
- Sea, Geoffrey (May 31, 2013). "Uranium Enrichment Ends at Paducah (Part 3)". ecowatch. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
- "Nuclear Energy". TVA. November 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
- "USEC Inc. Reaches Agreement with Noteholder Group To Move Forward with Balance Sheet Restructuring". USEC. 16 December 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- Overly, Steven (30 September 2014). "Centrus Energy, formerly known as USEC, emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
- Centrus Energy
- Paducah plant history on Centrus site
- Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant Deactivation Project, Home Page (US DOE)
- U.S. Department of Energy's Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office - or pppo.energy.gov
- Uranium Enrichment Current Issues, USEC Paducah and Portsmouth plants, USA. (WISE Uranium Project, World Information Service on Energy, www.wiseinternational.org)
- Paducah gaseous diffusion enrichment plant (Kentucky) - Decommissioning Issues (wise-uranium.org/ page)
- Portsmouth gaseous diffusion enrichment plant (Ohio) - Decommissioning Issues (wise-uranium.org/ page)