PDT Staff Writer
USEC Inc.’s American Centrifuge uranium enrichment technology recently achieved two important technical milestones under its research, development and demonstration (RD&D) program with the Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE certified completion of two key tests.
Paul Sullivan, vice president of American Centrifuge and chief engineer, said to date, four milestones have been achieved and five remain. In addition, with the final installation of 120 AC100 centrifuges in a commercial cascade in January 2013, the program has met three of five non-binding performance indicators.
“Our team continues to work closely with the Department of Energy to demonstrate the technical readiness of the American Centrifuge technology to meet national security needs and its readiness for commercial deployment,” Sullivan said. “We have made significant progress and remain on course to complete the program on schedule and within budget.”
The RD&D program comprises nine technical milestones, including four that were added in March related to specific requirements associated with a supplemental test program developed by DOE. In addition, the cooperative agreement contains five non-binding performance indicators that are designed to be achieved throughout the RD&D program and ensure that the program is on track to achieve the milestones and other program objectives.
USEC recently achieved milestones relating to the completion of testing on extended feed rate range and testing machine performance parameters. Sullivan sid both tests demonstrated advanced design features and robustness of the centrifuges to adverse operating conditions. In addition, by manufacturing the 120 AC100 centrifuges required for the demonstration cascade, the program has met the third performance indicator. To date, the program has completed four milestones and is on track to achieve the final remaining milestones by the end of the year.
USEC and DOE are executing a $350 million cooperative cost-shared RD&D program with DOE providing 80 percent, and USEC, 20 percent, to confirm the technical readiness of the American Centrifuge technology, the next-generation U.S. uranium enrichment technology. The program is within budget and on schedule to be completed in December 2013.
The RD&D program supports building, installing, operating, and testing commercial plant support systems and a 120-machine cascade that would be incorporated in the full commercial plant of 96 identical cascades in Piketon.
The program is currently funded through June 15, 2013. The recently enacted FY2013 continuing appropriations resolution included additional funding for continued work on the RD&D program at an annual rate of $110 million, which is expected to fund the RD&D program through September 30, 2013. The Company will continue to work with Congress and the administration to fund the balance of the RD&D program through December 2013 to achieve the remaining program milestones.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.