Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor Vol. 26 No. 13
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Nuclear Security & Deterrence Monitor
Article 3 of 6
March 31, 2022

Centrus was to bring HALEU cascade to brink of operations this week

By ExchangeMonitor

Centrus Energy was to have its new enrichment cascade for high assay low-enriched uranium ready to start up by Thursday, according to recent regulatory filings by the Bethesda, Md., company.

The uranium fuel broker and enrichment technology developer appended a letter contract with the Department of Energy to its latest 10-K filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission. Citing delayed delivery of government furnished equipment, Centrus announced late last year it would not be able to start up a 16-machine enrichment cascade, based on its AC100M technology, by June.

Under the contract DOE awarded in 2019, Centrus was supposed to produce a small amount of high assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) in June. That will be impossible now that delivery of DOE-provided cylinders was delayed — due to COVID, Centrus has said — so the agency is rewriting the existing contract to essentially get the Centrus cascade ready to operate under a follow-on contract the agency plans to award competitively some time this fiscal year.

Meanwhile, Centrus’ modified contract, to be finalized on May 20, calls for the company to have “all systems except Mass Spectrometer, Distributed Control System and Fissile Material Storage Area ready for operations by March 31, 2022.” The company build the cascade at DOE’s Portsmouth Site near Piketon, Ohio. The machines could help demonstrate a domestic enrichment technology that could be modified for use by nuclear-weapons programs later this decade.

The roughly $3.5-million change order appended to Centrus’ latest financial filings increased the value of the company’s HALEU contract with DOE to about $121.5 million, up from about $115 million at the time of the award.

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