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NRC Issues License for Gas Centrifuge Uranium Enrichment Plant in Ohio

From NRC:
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a license to USEC Inc. to construct and operate a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment plant at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant reservation near Piketon, Ohio.

The facility, to be known as the American Centrifuge Plant, will use a design based on gas centrifuge technology developed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to enrich uranium for use in fuel for commercial nuclear power reactors. The license authorizes USEC to enrich uranium up to 10 percent of the fissile isotope uranium-235.

USEC submitted its application for the license Aug. 23, 2004. The NRC staff published an environmental impact statement (NUREG-1834) on the facility in April 2006, finding that there would be no significant adverse environmental impacts that would preclude granting a license. The staff’s safety evaluation report (NUREG-1851), published last September, documents the staff’s review of the application.

Comments

WEVidalin said…
I think a lot of us “old timers” would like to see these guys succeed. That centrifuge design they inherited from the DOE was 25 years ahead of its time, back in the 1980’s. Fast forward to today, and it is still more advanced than anything else in the world. If they succeed this time around, the electrical consumption should be only 5% of the old gaseous diffusion method.

Currently our enrichment capacity as a nation supplies only half the needs of our 104 operating nuclear plants (5 million SWUs vs. 11 Million SWUs). The Europeans are beginning to question the wisdom getting so much of their natural gas supply from the Russians, yet HALF our nation’s enriched uranium is provided courtesy of Mr. Putin. So have those Europeans have been foolhardy? Neyt?

There is a take home message here. At $2.5 Billion, that American Centrifuge Plant in Ohio may not be entirely economic. You guy in the government listening?

--Bill V

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