Piketon centrifuge project offered short-term funding fix

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Piketon centrifuge project offered short-term funding fix

Chillicothe Gazette – Federal energy officials have agreed to give USEC access to $44 million in research and development funds needed for its Piketon uranium enrichment initiative.

That money is enough to keep USEC’s American Centrifuge Project alive for another few months, buying crucial time for Congress to find another $106 million needed to ensure the technology is viable and push the project toward commercialization.

In a letter to Sen. Sherrod Brown on Friday, Energy Secretary Steven Chu said his department would assume liability for $44 million of USEC assets in the form of uranium “tails,” a byproduct of enrichment. That will free up money on USEC’s books, allowing the company to continue funding the centrifuge research in the short run.

“Today’s announcement is an encouraging step,” said Brown, D-Ohio. “This plan will allow Congress, the administration, and the company time to work on a long-term funding solution.”

USEC said the deal would fund the research and development program through the end of March.

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