Enrichment shake-up

3 June 2002

Urenco has confirmed that, in partnership with US utilities, it is preparing to submit a licence application by the end of the year to build a US centrifuge enrichment plant. Pending approval, construction will begin in 2004, and the first cascade will come on line in 2006. The technology would be based on Urenco's European plants, and be built progressively in modules of 500tSWU/year capacity.

Meanwhile, USEC has confirmed that it is moving forward with its plans for its own centrifuge plant, with a view to having the lead cascade going about 2009-10. USEC plans to run the lead cascade for about a year before submitting a licence application for the commercial facility. Later this month, USEC is expected to decide between the Portsmouth, Ohio and Paducah, Kentucky sites for the lead cascade.

USEC also said that it might consider Silex laser enrichment technology in the long term, the development of which it is now funding.
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