Note: This story was last updated at 11:11 a.m.
The American Centrifuge Project, a program that would enrich uranium for commercial nuclear power plants and has operations in Oak Ridge, got a little extra time this week.
Several billions have already been spent and funding was set to expire April 15, but USEC announced Tuesday morning that the research, development, and demonstration agreement was extended through April 30. That was done at no additional cost to the taxpayer through “prudent management of existing program funds by USEC,” the company said in a press release.
In the meantime, USEC said it continues its discussions with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which could take over the management of the project for national security purposes. The DOE takeover was announced by Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing earlier this month.
The future of the project is not clear and several hundred workers have received notices that they could be laid off. On Friday, USEC Inc. spokesperson Paul Jacobson said the 60-day notices, which were effective March 19, were sent to 174 USEC employees in the Oak Ridge area and a total of 400 workers. Most of the other workers are in Piketon, Ohio, but there are also a few at USEC headquarters in Bethseda, Md. [Read more…]