Since 2002, USEC scientists, engineers and contractors at our testing and development facilities in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, have improved the U.S. gas centrifuge technology originally developed by the U.S. Department of Energy through advanced materials, updated electronics and design enhancements based on highly advanced computer modeling capabilities.
The first new centrifuge component tests began in 2003 and the first tests of a full-size centrifuge began in January 2005. These centrifuge tests were conducted in specially equipped test stands in Oak Ridge.
In 2008, USEC released the initial design for the AC100 machine to its suppliers in preparation for installing a test cascade of AC100 series machines in Piketon. USEC has released updated AC100 series designs that reflect value-engineering improvements. Value engineering lowers the cost or improves the reliability of the machine without adversely affecting its functional requirements. One advantage to the modular centrifuge process is the ability to deploy improved, tested designs through a disciplined change control process. Therefore, value-engineered aspects and other technology improvements can be integrated as the American Centrifuge Plant is built out over several years.