—Enrichment Loan Guarantee Denied “” The Department of Energy last week denied $2 billion in loan guarantees sought by the global energy company USEC to continue construction of its partially complete centrifuge-based uranium enrichment facility in Piketon, Ohio, which would create low-enrichment uranium (LEU) fuel for nuclear power plants. DOE said the facility was not ready to move to commercial-scale operations, which is a requirement for the loan program. DOE did, however, offer USEC some $45 million in grants for further research. Currently, USEC produces about half the nation's LEU reactor fuel primarily by down-blending Russian bomb-grade uranium, along with using an older, noncentrifuge-based enrichment technology.
by Jeffrey W. Johnson |
August 03, 2009