Centrus is will poineer production of HALEU to support the deployment of the next generation of...

Centrus is will poineer production of HALEU to support the deployment of the next generation of reactors.

Photo: Centrus/Work Truck

American Centrifuge Operating (ACO), Centrus Energy Corp subsidiary, has signed a definitized contract with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The contract is to begin production of High-Assay, Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU) at its facility leased from DOE in Piketon, Ohio. 

ACO was selected for the contract by the Department of Energy on November 10, 2022. 

As part of a previous, cost-shared contract awarded in 2019, Centrus has been deploying its AC100M advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges in Piketon and has secured a license amendment from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, making it the only NRC-licensed HALEU production site.

"Centrus is strongly committed to pioneering production of HALEU to support the deployment of the next generation of reactors and help meet the surging global demand for carbon-free energy," said Daniel B. Poneman, Centrus President and CEO.

"Bringing the demonstration cascade online and starting HALEU production represents a critical step toward restoring a domestic enrichment capability for the Nation. We are dedicated to excellence in the execution of our responsibilities under this contract."

The Next Generation of Fuel

HALEU is an advanced nuclear fuel required for most of the next-generation reactor designs currently under development.

Nine of the ten advanced reactor designs selected for funding under the Department of Energy's Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program, including the two demonstration reactors, will rely on HALEU, as will the first non-light water reactor to enter licensing review by the NRC.

The base contract value is approximately $150 million in two phases through 2024. Phase One includes an approximately $30 million cost share contribution from Centrus matched by approximately $30 million from the Department to finish construction, bring the cascade online, and demonstrate production of 20 kilograms of 19.75% enriched HALEU by December 31, 2023.

In Phase Two of the contract, ACO will continue production for a full year at an annual production rate of 900 kilograms of HALEU. 

The Department will own the HALEU produced from the demonstration cascade and Centrus will be compensated on a cost-plus-incentive-fee basis, with an expected Phase Two contract value of approximately $90 million, subject to appropriations. 

The contract also gives the Department options to pay for up to nine additional years of production from the cascade beyond the base contract; those options are at the Department's sole discretion and subject to the availability of Congressional appropriations. 

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