USEC Inc. Statement on DOE’s Loan Guarantee Implementation Plan
Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) submitted its loan guarantee implementation plan to Congress and said it intends to issue its loan guarantee solicitations as soon as possible after the congressional review. USEC Inc. (NYSE:USU) said today it is planning to submit an application shortly after the DOE solicitation is made late in the second quarter of 2008.
USEC strongly supports the principles behind the DOE loan guarantee program, which will help America rebuild its nuclear industrial infrastructure as the country increasingly turns to nuclear power as the best baseload supply of greenhouse gas emission-free electricity. USEC will be prepared to submit a full application for a loan guarantee for the construction of its American Centrifuge uranium enrichment plant when DOE invites applications for nuclear energy projects.
The omnibus fiscal 2008 appropriations act provides DOE with authority to issue $38.5 billion worth of loan guarantees through the end of fiscal 2009, with $18.5 billion allocated for new nuclear reactors and another $2 billion for advanced “front-end” nuclear fuel cycle facilities. Under this legislation, DOE was required to submit its loan guarantee implementation plan 45 days prior to issuing its loan guarantee solicitations, which means the earliest date DOE would be able to issue loan guarantee solicitations is May 26.
DOE’s plan states, “The principal purpose of the loan guarantee program is to encourage early commercial use in the United States of innovative and new or significantly improved technologies in energy and energy-related projects.” USEC believes its American Centrifuge Plant (ACP) and the selection criteria set forth in the implementation plan are in close alignment:
Avoidance of emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases: The ACP will require 95 percent less electricity than the gaseous diffusion technology used today to create the same amount of low enriched uranium.
The period of time required to place the project into service and/or be commercialized: The ACP is already well under construction.
The commercial scale of the project: The ACP is expected to have an annual output of 3.8 million SWUs (separative work units) and the modular design will allow for incremental expansion.
The potential for future long-lasting commercial success of the project and the technology: Nuclear reactors are licensed for an initial period of 40 years and many U.S. reactors have had these licenses extended an additional 20 years. The ACP received a 30-year operating license from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that will allow USEC to supply fuel for these power reactors for decades to come.
The American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio, will use U.S. gas centrifuge technology based on a design originally developed by DOE but with design, material and manufacturing improvements. As America’s only commercial uranium enrichment facility using U.S. centrifuge technology, the American Centrifuge Plant will play an important role in America’s energy security.
For more information on the DOE loan guarantee implementation plan, please visit http://www.energy.gov/news/6152.htm.
USEC Inc., a global energy company, is a leading supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants.