Centrus Energy Corporation announced Monday that it has signed a $32.3 million contract with UT-Battelle LLC for engineering and testing work on uranium enrichment technology. The contract, a new U.S. Centrifuge Technology Advancement contract, runs through September 30.
UT-Battelle operates Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy.
Under the terms of the agreement with UT-Battelle, Centrus will continue to perform engineering and testing work to preserve and advance uranium enrichment technology that originates in the United States to support future national security and energy security needs, a press release said.
“We still have critical work to do to advance the nation’s uranium enrichment capability,” said Steve Penrod, vice president of American Centrifuge for Centrus. “In Oak Ridge, we have a specialized workforce, unique assets, and technical capabilities that are essential for this important work. Over the long term, we plan to continue advancing our technological expertise in uranium enrichment technology, operations, and manufacturing so that we are ready to deploy a commercial-scale enrichment facility when sufficient market demand recovers.”
Centrus recently completed a successful three-year demonstration of the existing American Centrifuge technology at its facility in Piketon, Ohio, with 120 machines linked together in a cascade to simulate industrial operating conditions, the press release said. Informed by data from that demonstration, Centrus scientists, engineers, and operators will use the company’s unique facilities in Tennessee to continue advancing the technology—identifying further improvements to reduce costs, improve manufacturability, and enhance long-term reliability of its enrichment operations. The work also ensures that critical U.S. expertise in centrifuge design, manufacturing, and operations is maintained, the press release said.
In October 2015, the U.S. Department of Energy issued a report to Congress finding that the United States must restore its domestic uranium enrichment capability to meet national security needs. After evaluating a range of possible technologies, the Department found that the American Centrifuge is the “most technically advanced and lowest risk option” for doing so.
More information will be added as it becomes available.