U.S. Energy Agency Plans to Take Control of Private Uranium Project

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Global Security Newswire Staff
April 4, 2014, 6:25 a.m.

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.


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