Uranium enrichment supplier USEC Inc. has filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The announcement comes after USEC’s plans for deployment of the American Centrifuge project were affected by delays in obtaining permanent financing for construction, and by a global oversupply of nuclear fuel following Fukushima.

USEC said the pre-arranged financial restructuring has been carried out to ‘strengthen the company’s balance sheet, enhance its ability to sponsor the American Centrifuge project and improve its long-term business opportunities.’

The company has also reached agreement with its preferred equity investors, Toshiba Corporation and The Babcock & Wilcox Company, to support the restructuring plan.

The restructuring plan calls for replacing USEC’s $530 million debt and all of its preferred and common stock with a new debt issue totaling $240.4 million and new common stock. The new debt issue would mature in five years, but can be extended for an additional five years subject to certain conditions.

"The filing will have no impact on USEC’s daily operations"

USEC said that noteholders would receive $200 million of the new debt and approximately 79% of the common stock. Equity investors Toshiba and Babcock & Wilcox would each receive $20.19 million of the new debt and approximately 8% of the new common stock. Existing stockholders would receive 5% of the new common stock.

The filing will have no impact on USEC’s daily operations, which include a research, development and demonstration programme to deploy US uranium enrichment technology, the transition of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant back to the US Department of Energy (DOE), the sale of SWU from its inventory and purchases of Russian low enriched uranium.

USEC anticipates receiving court approval to emerge from bankruptcy protection in 90 to 120 days.