Toshiba Corporation and Babcock & Wilcox Investment Company have announced plans to invest $200 million in enrichment company, USEC Inc. The investment will strengthen the deployment of the American Centrifuge Plant and create new business opportunities throughout the fuel cycle, the firms say.
The Japanese firm Toshiba is investing to help secure its nuclear fuel supply. Japan has no indigenous uranium resources, but has 54 reactors, ambitious plans to build 14 more by 2030 and is reportedly planning to start exporting reactors internationally. "We have decided to make this investment in American know-how and American technology in order to produce more uranium fuel for the growing worldwide nuclear power market with high confidence in USEC as a leading supplier of low enriched uranium. Toshiba has intensified its front-end supply chain by executing various programmes. Along with these efforts, the investment in USEC will strengthen the nuclear fuel supply chain," said Yasuharu Igarashi, corporate senior vice president of Toshiba.
Brandon Bethards, president and CEO of B&W, said, "This agreement will allow B&W to explore broader energy opportunities globally through expanded strategic relationships with Toshiba and USEC, as well as further enhance our already-strong relationship with the U.S. Department of Energy."
The agreement comes at a time when the federal government is considering issuing a loan guarantee to support completion of USEC's American Centrifuge Project, a next-generation uranium enrichment facility to be built in Piketon, Ohio. USEC is currently operating a cascade of centrifuge machines in a commercial plant configuration, collecting data and experience in preparation for transitioning into full commercial operation.
"This is a new day for USEC in the era of nuclear power, and we're heartened by these votes of confidence in USEC and the American Centrifuge Project from two global leaders in the nuclear power industry," said John Welch, USEC president and CEO. “
USEC Inc. is a leading supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants. In 2009 the company’s revenues were more than $2 billion.
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