Good news comes in bunches for USEC

March 5, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

The good news continues to roll in for the funding of the research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) program at the American Centrifuge Project (ACP) in Piketon. News from Capitol Hill is that $150 million is included in the House Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the USEC RD&D process which is a joint effort by USEC and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Section 1402 of the CR reads - “In addition to amounts otherwise made available by this division, $150,000,000 is appropriated for ‘‘Department of Energy, Atomic Energy Defense Activities, National Nuclear Security Administration, Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation’’ for domestic uranium enrichment research, development, and demonstration.”

“Obviously we have been working to complete the funding for the RD&D program, which is an important program for demonstrating the technology, and laying the groundwork for commercialization,” Paul Jacobson, Vice President of Communications for USEC told the Daily Times Tuesday. “I think the inclusion of the funds reflects a continued bi-partisan support in Congress and from the administration as well, for the national and energy security merits of this project. I think it’s important to underscore that this proposed funding is to support the centrifuge project, and the national goals that the decision makers in Washington have decided are important to support. So obviously it is good news but there is a way to go with action in the House and action in the Senate, but it certainly is encouraging.”

In a related story, President Barack Obama is set to appoint a new energy secretary. Obama is nominating MIT scientist Ernest Moniz to head the Energy Department. The decision places an advocate of nuclear energy and shale gas at the top of the important department. That has the potential to be beneficial to USEC.

“It’s fair to say that we’re pleased with the nomination,” Jacobson said. “He is familiar with our technology and uranium enrichment. I think it would be fair to say that we could applaud that nomination. He has a distinguished career. He’s an educator. He’s a scientist, a public servant. He has a solid foundation certainly to serve as Energy Secretary. He has been a strong advocate for the advancement of nuclear energy as an important method for addressing carbon emissions and climate change. And he is familiar with the enrichment technology. So that’s why we’re pleased with the nomination.”

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com