The U.S. Energy Department on Wednesday announced its intention to assume project management from a commercial uranium-enrichment enterprise declared bankrupt.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz shared the plan to assume control, sometime in April, of the American Centrifuge Project during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing, the Knoxville News-Sentinel reported. The department cited national security grounds in justifying the move.
USEC Inc., which operates the centrifuge project, has already received hundreds of millions of dollars in department financing for the project. The company is developing a next-generation enrichment centrifuge. The department is seeking over $56 million in fiscal 2015 funding for the centrifuge project.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee could be tasked with managing the project under the Energy Department's plan, the newspaper reported.
"All we can say at this point is that Secretary Moniz asked ORNL to help define a path forward that preserves the technology, and we're in discussions with DOE on what that path might be," laboratory spokesman David Keim told the News-Sentinel.