Daniel B. Poneman, former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, has been picked to be president and chief executive officer of Centrus Energy Corporation.
Centrus was formerly known as USEC Incorporated, and it has operations in Oak Ridge.
The selection of Poneman by the Centrus Board of Directors was announced Thursday. Poneman will join Centrus immediately and become the chief executive later this month. He will also be a member of the board.
The company, which has headquarters in Bethseda, Maryland, said Poneman is internationally recognized for his leadership over many years in support of U.S. energy policy, including efforts to assure the safe use of nuclear power as part of a low-carbon energy strategy while combatting the proliferation of nuclear weapons and related materials and technologies.
In a press release, Centrus said:
- Poneman has decades of leadership in nuclear power.
- He joins Centrus at a pivotal moment to lead an effort to “move the company forward.”
- He sees a key role for the American Centrifuge technology in providing a domestic source of uranium enrichment for national security and energy security
Before last October, Poneman, 58, was the longest-serving deputy secretary at the Department of Energy, where he also served as chief operating officer. His responsibilities spanned the full range of U.S. energy policy, including the president’s “all-of-the-above” strategy to develop the nation’s energy potential, including improved efficiency and demand management as well as nuclear, hydrocarbon, and renewable energy sources, the press release said. His responsibilities also included emergency response—in cases ranging from Fukushima to Hurricane Sandy—resilience, project management, and cybersecurity.
As announced in October 2014, the Centrus board initiated a comprehensive executive search to identify and select a successor to John K. Welch, who stepped down as president and chief executive officer at that time. John R. Castellano has served as interim president and CEO during the search.
“We are delighted to have a leader with Dan’s experience and vision joining Centrus at this pivotal point for our company and the nuclear power industry,” said Mikel H. Williams, chairman of the Centrus Board of Directors. “His exceptional experience across a range of energy and national security disciplines will be a significant asset to our company. Dan has the international experience to further develop Centrus’ business as dozens of new power reactors currently under construction around the world come online.”
Williams and the board thanked Castellano for his service to Centrus for the past 18 months, first as chief restructuring officer and then as interim CEO. Castellano will remain with the company through the effective date for Poneman to facilitate a seamless transition of leadership responsibilities.
“I appreciate the board’s confidence and I’m honored to have the opportunity to lead Centrus. I am excited about working with the board and management team to rebuild Centrus as an industry leader that continues its record of delivering nuclear fuel on-time and in-spec to our utility customers,” Poneman said. “I believe the American Centrifuge technology can play a vital role in meeting America’s national security and non-proliferation goals, while preserving the option of commercial deployment when industry demand for nuclear fuel improves later this decade.”
Poneman previously served as a White House Fellow and director of defense policy and arms control for the National Security Council. From 1993 through 1996, he was special assistant to the President and senior director for nonproliferation and export controls at the National Security Council. He was confirmed by the Senate as deputy secretary of energy in May 2009. Prior to assuming his responsibilities as deputy secretary, he served as a principal of the Scowcroft Group for eight years, providing strategic advice to corporations in a variety of strategic industries. Earlier in his career, he practiced law in Washington, D.C., advising clients on regulatory and policy matters. Poneman received A.B. and J.D. degrees with honors from Harvard University and an M.Litt. in Politics from Oxford University.
Centrus Energy Corporation supplies enriched uranium fuel for a growing fleet of international and domestic commercial nuclear power plants. The company said it is working to deploy the American Centrifuge technology for commercial needs and to support U.S. energy and national security.
Centrus announced last fall that it had emerged from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
In January, the company announced that UT-Battelle, the contractor that operates Oak Ridge National Laboratory, had added another six months to an agreement being used to develop new uranium-enrichment technology through Centrus operations in Oak Ridge and Piketon, Ohio.
By exercising that option, UT-Battelle extended the American Centrifuge Technology Demonstration and Operations Agreement, or ACTDO Agreement, from March 31 to September 30, 2015
ORNL had previously exercised an option to extend the agreement through March 31, 2015.
The six-month extension allows the continued demonstration and operation of the only uranium enrichment technology in the United States.