American Centrifuge is USEC’s next-generation uranium enrichment technology, which is being deployed in Piketon, Ohio. As part of USEC’s effort to receive a Department of Energy loan guarantee for the project, USEC has strengthened the technical and financial foundation for the project. Specific areas include:
Quality Assurance / Quality Control Review and Overhaul
- Instituted and completed a stand-down of the Lead Cascade including disassembly of every machine for quality re-baselining, cleaning, and re-assembly.
- Implemented a requirement for management to personally certify each machine subassembly, certify full machine assembly, and certify lead cascade readiness to resume cascade operations.
- Reviewed USEC and supplier procedures and processes and revised drawings and assembly instructions to address findings.
- Built, installed and operated AC100 machines to specification.
- Strategic suppliers have manufactured and assembled AC100 machines and continue to do so.
- State-of-the-art manufacturing infrastructure is in place for initial machine production rate and ready to be expanded when deployment financing is available.
Operate Machines in a Cascade
- In March 2010, USEC began operation of approximately two dozen AC100 machines in a cascade under commercial plant conditions.
- In 2011, USEC continued assembling and operating AC100 machines in its Lead Cascade program that reflect improvements identified in prior testing.
Updated Cost/Schedule Baseline
- USEC has presented a go-forward business case and plant configuration that best recovers the value of the American Centrifuge technology and results in a viable economic case.
- USEC developed an updated cost and schedule based on detailed supplier input.
- USEC implemented a program to dramatically refine the production process of the single most costly component of the AC100 machine, the carbon-fiber rotor, which will lead to greater cost certainty.
Improved Financial Structure
- USEC secured an agreement for a $200 million investment from Toshiba Corporation and Babcock & Wilcox. Phase one for $75 million closed in September 2010.
- USEC is in discussions with Japanese export credit agencies regarding financing of $1 billion of the cost of completing the American Centrifuge Plant.
- USEC is continuing to work with suppliers to lower cost and reduce risk of cost overruns.
- USEC and Babcock & Wilcox have established a joint company to create a single point of accountability for machine manufacturing.
- USEC consolidated all technical authority under a single Technical Director who also heads a newly created Program Integrated Product team, which encompasses machine technology development, plant design and construction, plant startup, testing, and operations.