USEC: ORNL extends American Centrifuge demonstration program into 2015

American Centrifuge Technology Manufacturing Center

The American Centrifuge Technology Manufacturing Center in south Oak Ridge is pictured above. (Photos courtesy USEC)

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has exercised an option to extend the American Centrifuge demonstration program into 2015, USEC announced Wednesday. The announcement was included in a report on second quarter results, when the uranium enrichment company had a net loss of $28 million. USEC, which has operations in Oak Ridge, is undergoing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is turning over its gaseous diffusion plant in Paducah, Kentucky, to the U.S. Department of Energy. Funding for the next-generation American Centrifuge activities was previously provided under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy. Under that cost-sharing agreement, DOE provided 80 percent of the funding, and USEC provided 20 percent for research, development, and demonstration work performed from June 1, 2012, through April 30, 2014, when the agreement expired. On May 1, USEC signed a new agreement with UT-Battelle, which manages and operates ORNL for DOE. The agreement was called the American Centrifuge Technology Demonstration and Operations, or ACTDO, agreement, and it allows for continued cascade operations and the continuation of core American Centrifuge research and technology activities and the furnishing of related reports to ORNL, USEC said in its quarterly report. On July 31, ORNL exercised its option to extend the period of performance for the ACTDO Agreement by an additional six months to March 31, 2015. The agreement also provides ORNL with one additional option to extend the agreement by six months to September 30, 2015. [Read more…]

USEC bankruptcy filing won’t affect daily operations in Oak Ridge, company says

Centrifuge Machine Manufacturing

In Oak Ridge, USEC workers take part in centrifuge operations, testing, and manufacturing for the American Centrifuge Project. (Photos courtesy USEC)

The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and financial restructuring plan that USEC Inc. announced last week will not affect daily operations in Oak Ridge or the American Centrifuge Project, a company spokesman said Monday.

The bankruptcy filing and financial plan are a restructuring of the balance sheet of the parent company, USEC Inc., spokesman Paul Jacobson said. He said the company is trying to strengthen its balance sheet and be a stronger sponsor of the American Centrifuge Project, a “next-generation” U.S. uranium enrichment technology. USEC Inc. is a global energy company that is a leading supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants.

The company currently has 304 people working on the centrifuge program in Tennessee. In Oak Ridge, workers take part in centrifuge operations, testing, and manufacturing.

“This plan for restructuring our debt and equity will have no effect on our employees, who will continue to receive paychecks and benefits in the ordinary course,” Jacobson said. “As we have communicated to our employees previously, some employees will be impacted by several ongoing initiatives that are unrelated to the restructuring.” [Read more…]

Legal official retires at DOE Oak Ridge Office

Robert James

Robert James

Robert James, the assistant chief counsel for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office, has retired after 25 years of federal service.

James served as the assistant chief counsel since 2009. In this position, he led a team of attorneys that are responsible for legal representation on environmental, regulatory, health and safety, real estate, and security matters across the Oak Ridge Reservation, a press release said. His team also provides legal representation for Nuclear Energy missions in Oak Ridge; Paducah, Ky.; and Portsmouth, Ohio.

“Rob’s extensive knowledge and experience in environmental law have been a tremendous asset to the Oak Ridge Office and those it services,” said Larry Kelly, manager of DOE-ORO. “His insight and recommendations aided our leadership teams in making the most informed and prudent decisions.” [Read more…]