Centrus Energy Corp. (formerly USEC Inc.) has announced that UT-Battelle, LLC, as operator of the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), has exercised its option to extend the American Centrifuge Technology Demonstration and Operations Agreement by six months from 31 March to 30 September 30, 2015.

ORNL has been tasked by the DOE to assist in developing a path forward for achieving a reliable and economic domestic uranium enrichment capability that supports national security.

The ACTDO Agreement requires Centrus to furnish technical reports and data to ORNL from the cascade operations at its Piketon, Ohio, facility and from the core American Centrifuge research and technology activities at Oak Ridge, Tennessee facilities.

The agreement provided two options to extend the contract for six months, each at a price of $41.7 million for each option period. ORNL had previously exercised an option to extend the agreement through 31 March 2015.

"Our American Centrifuge team continues to make solid progress executing the ACTDO agreement," said Steven R. Penrod, vice president, American Centrifuge. "We are operating a cascade of machines and demonstrating this remarkable uranium enrichment technology that is capable of supporting our country’s national security objectives. We appreciate ORNL’s confidence in our team’s work through their support of this six-month extension."

Under the extended subcontract, Centrus says it will continue these operations in Ohio and Tennessee.

The FY2015 omnibus appropriations bill signed by President Obama on 16 December 2014 provides $97.2 million in funding for domestic uranium enrichment research, development and demonstration, including for the continuation of the ACTDO Agreement through end September 2015.
Funding over the longer term is uncertain. Pursuant to the FY2015 omnibus appropriations bill, DOE is examining long-range options for meeting the government’s need for enriched uranium to support national security, and is expected to report its findings to Congress later this year.

Centrus, which has invested more than $2.5 billion to develop US-origin uranium enrichment technology, says it remains committed to working closely with DOE and Congress to maintain and deploy this technology to serve national security and energy security needs.

Photo: Demonstration cascade at the ACP (Source: Centrus)