PDT Staff Writer
USEC officials took the opportunity Thursday morning to update area business and labor leaders on the progress of the American Centrifuge Project at Piketon.
While USEC continues to seek a $2 billion loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy, USEC is partnering with the DOE to continue to work on the centrifuge program through the $350 million RD&D (Research, Development and Demonstration) project in hopes it will eventually lead to the loan guarantee for the ACP.
“We’re still moving forward with our pursuit of the loan guarantee,” Dan Rogers, General Manager, American Centrifuge Plant Operations said. “We think it’s very important. We’re doing this project that we have support from the Department of Energy, as well as Congress, as well as the (Obama) Administration. As we move forward, this is all to address some concerns that the Administration and the Energy Department has, and we expect to complete this and move forward with the loan guarantee.”
Rogers said USEC will be building a cascade that is a duplicate of one of the cascades in the commercial plant, which will be 1/96th of the commercial plant. But it will be deployed just as it would be for the commercial plant, which will address any concerns DOE might have with the technology.
Rogers said USEC will be updating their loan guarantee application.
“We need to update it for several reasons,” Rogers said. “What we are learning here and what we are performing in the RD&D cascade; also for escalation. As time has gone by we need to escalate. We need to update the numbers and we already have our application in for the loan guarantee, but we just need to update it with things that we have learned over the last couple of years, and the financial aspect of it.”
Congress recently cleared another $150 million for the project, which eventually could create some 4,000 jobs in southern Ohio.
Duduit said since the research, development and demonstration (RD&D) program began in June 2012, employment at the Piketon plant has grown by approximately 200 – this has been a jump from approximately 250 to 450, and this number includes direct USEC employees as well as contractors, construction workers, escorts, etc. Duduit said if you count employment in Tennessee and other states as well, total direct jobs for the entire program are approximately 1,120. The RD&D program employs 169 companies from 28 states to support construction, manufacturing and operations activities.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org