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PostPosted: Oct 27, 2015 3:32 am 
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A pragmatic view considering there is no demand for next decade or two.
In 20 years, the Chinese may be selling it like their other exports.


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PostPosted: Mar 06, 2016 4:44 pm 
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What's next for Centrifuge workers?

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PIKETON — With the decision nearly two weeks ago to pull the American Centrifuge Plant off the life support it had been clinging to, it appeared the final chapter in a long and challenging journey had been written. Since the announcement, however, some members of Ohio's congressional delegation who played a significant role in lobbying to keep the plant from shutting down and taking more than 200 jobs with it this year, have been trying to keep hope alive for that skilled workforce in Piketon. U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup, whose 2nd District includes Pike County, submitted a column this week to the Chillicothe Gazette that serves as a thank you to employees and a criticism of the Department of Energy. DOE made the decision in September to de-fund the American Centrifuge Plant and shift resources set for the centrifuge technology to Oak Ridge, Tennessee for further development. The plant had been operating since then on funding from Centrus Energy, which operates the facility, in hopes that DOE would either have a change of heart or that another use for the plant could be found to keep people in their jobs. DOE didn't, and Centrus said none of the options examined could be done in a cost-effective or timely enough fashion to prevent the layoffs, the first round of which were scheduled to begin this week.

"Now, the Department of Energy, with a blind eye to global realities, is shutting down our successful operations," Wenstrup wrote. "They plan on dismantling and destroying the machines or shipping them down to Tennessee for storage. We can't just suspend the skilled workforce until it's needed again."

That workforce, he added, needs to have faith that it has a future in the Piketon area.

"My commitment to you is that this is not the end of the story for Piketon," he wrote. "The Piketon facility is a tremendous asset and our skilled workforce in the region is an enviable asset to any company or project. I will continue to work with community leaders to find new opportunities for Southern Ohio."

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown made a similar promise when the Centrifuge's closure was announced.

"I can promise these layoffs are not the end of this fight," Brown said. "The families in this community deserve a long-term solution that secures jobs in the area and supports southern Ohio's economy, and I'll continue to work with the Piketon community to find a long-term solution worthy of these workers."

Neither Wenstrup nor Brown, when asked by the Gazette over the past week, could provide any specifics regarding what such a long-term solution may be, other than to note that the cleanup work at the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon could offer at least some opportunities.

"We will continue to fight on this, number one, and number two, we're going to get as much assistance as we can for the cleanup, which are good-paying union jobs," Brown told the Gazette last week. "... My focus is on the workers. I'll continue to work for long-term jobs for Pike County, for Scioto County, for Ross County, for the region that is served where the workers come from for these projects."

While those trying to save jobs in Piketon have applauded the efforts of the congressional delegation over recent years, there is frustration from workers and communities in the five-county area that supplies the bulk of the site's workforce after living through an almost annual roller coaster of uncertainty. Unrealized efforts to obtain a $2 billion loan guarantee earlier this decade to push the Centrifuge into full commercial operation, regular end-of-the-year wrangling over adequate federal dollars to continue the cleanup and Centrifuge operations and a much-hyped announcement in 2009 of plans to bring a large Southern Ohio Clean Energy Park to Piketon that went nowhere have impacted the psyche of the workforce. Herman Potter, president of United Steel Workers Local 689 that represents several workers at the Centrifuge and cleanup work, said that's why pronouncements about the future fall on questioning ears.

"The union membership over the years have developed a very cynical attitude towards the Department of Energy, especially those from Centrus and the American Centrifuge process," Potter said. "They are in a position that they need to find more secure work as fast as they can and they are concerned that Centrus, who is still maintaining the (Centrifuge) buildings, may be so reluctant to lose them that they may subtly deter other on-site companies from hiring them.

"We have tried to address that concern by entering in a preferential hiring agreement with (Fluor-BWXT, lead site contractor for the cleanup work) on their behalf and are hopeful that the work grows on the cleanup side."

Potter said the union will continue to be active in other ways, including working toward trying to encourage increased investment in both the cleanup work and the DUF6 project on the Piketon DOE site where more than 800,000 tons of depleted uranium hexafluoride is being converted to depleted uranium oxide. It also is looking to enhance worker skills.

"We are currently working with our USW International union and our district director, Dave McCall, to bring training to the site to enhance the skills and knowledge of our workforce as well as open those same opportunities to members of the communities," Potter said. "This USW local and USW International have not given up on the people that work here and the surrounding community."

Steven Shepherd, executive director of the Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative, said his organization continues to actively pursue new opportunities for skilled workers in Piketon and surrounding communities.

"We're working diligently — with meetings in Brussels (Belgium) and meetings in Washington, D.C. — to try and gain ground and bring other opportunities with an energy park," Shepherd said.

Shepherd, who thinks it's likely that both the cleanup and DUF6 facility will take on some Centrifuge workers and that others from the Centrifuge will go ahead with retirement plans, said DOE has been working with SODI to transfer around 97 acres inside the southwest corner of the perimeter road around the Piketon site that could be used to attract development to keep and create jobs.

"That's moving along," he said. "We should have a lease on 97 acres this year with the total transfer of the property to SODI next year, so those are good things that are occurring. If it hadn't been for DOE and all the support of the congressional staff, that wouldn't be happening, so we're grateful to DOE and Congress because we're seeing some progress."

Potter, likewise, indicated that the commitment of the region may be getting through to Washington.

"As far as the promises, we are hoping that during this year that the government realizes our dedication to the re-industrialization of the Piketon site," he said. "There are some indications that maybe we are being heard. I am cautiously acknowledging that the DOE seems to be more receptive to our recommendations for efficiency and plans for the site."


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PostPosted: Mar 06, 2016 10:43 pm 
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I believe that if we are going to see nuclear power grow in this country then one of two things needs to happen, the pro-nuclear people in the federal government need to have enough of a majority that the anti-"nukular" people can't put up a filibuster and stop the DOE from becoming the Department of NO Energy, or the states will have to decide that the federal government is no longer allowed to have a monopoly on licensing and regulating radioactive material. We are going to have an election for POTUS in a few months, perhaps there is enough of a pro-nuclear crowd to make this standstill in nuclear power development end.

I do see a growing trend in state governments pushing back on the authority the federal government has usurped over time. This boiled frog is starting to kick. We can see this push back in things like the so called Affordable Care Act, the TSA at airports, marijuana legalization, drug controls in general, gun control, school lunches. and I could keep going. I believe that the failure of the federal government to allow for safe and responsible research in nuclear power should be an issue that should also fall under states' rights.

I'll give a prediction, we should see marijuana legalized before whomever becomes the next POTUS comes up for re-election or things could get real ugly real fast. I'm not sure what form that ugliness might take but imagine what enforcement of the letter of the law could mean. As it is now any items purchased even in part with money from the sale of an illegal drug can be seized, as it is now there are state governments that get considerable income from the sale of marijuana, therefore could the federal government seize state property?

Now, if only we could get people as worked up over nuclear power as they do about marijuana. Perhaps then we might see states license facilities to process nuclear material without explicit permission from the federal government.

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Disclaimer: I am an engineer but not a nuclear engineer, mechanical engineer, chemical engineer, or industrial engineer. My education included electrical, computer, and software engineering.


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PostPosted: Sep 24, 2016 6:23 am 
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Centrus Signs Contract for Advancing U.S. Enrichment Technology


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PostPosted: Sep 24, 2016 11:27 am 
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The aforementioned article several times made the claim that there was ample enriched uranium currently in stock. The beginning of the article tells that Congress wanted to know how much the US Navy needed in particular.

Now I'm no expert, but I was under the impression that the US did not have sufficient stockpiles of LEU or enrichment capacities to sustain our commercial

Am I missing something or does the US commercial fleet now have a surplus of uranium from which to draw for the next two decades?

Edit: Mistakenly thought I had hit the next page button. This was in reply to the article about Secretary Monitor and Congress' decision to mothball an enrichment plant in Ohio due to excess stockpiles.


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PostPosted: Mar 23, 2018 3:32 am 
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Energy Secretary Rick Perry says he’s open to reopening Piketon project


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PostPosted: Apr 08, 2018 9:04 pm 
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Does the American Centrifuge in Piketon have a future?

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During a March earnings call with investors less than a week before Perry’s appearance before the Senate committee, Centrus Energy CEO Daniel Poneman said cleanup work at the American Centrifuge facility was nearly complete and sent signals the company’s presence in Piketon may be nearing an end. “All the machines and plant equipment have been removed and sent for disposal,” Poneman said. “We have a few more limited tasks to wrap up, but we expect to return the demonstration facility license to (the Nuclear Regulatory Commission) in the summer, which will mark the official end of the (Decontamination and Decommissioning) project.” Taken further, a General Accounting Office report issued in February of this year indicates the facility will not be in Centrus’ hands much longer and is being returned to the condition it was in before being leased for the American Centrifuge project.


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PostPosted: Aug 15, 2018 11:03 am 
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NRC clears centrifuge plant decommissioning plan

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The LCF, located at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon, Ohio, was set up to demonstrate the effectiveness of the gas centrifuge design and equipment for use in the planned American Centrifuge Plant. The prototype lead cascade started operations in August 2006. In early 2016, Centrus completed a successful three-year demonstration of a full 120 machine cascade of advanced centrifuges, demonstrating the long-term performance and reliability of the machines under actual operating conditions. In March that year, the company notified the NRC of its decision to permanently cease operations and its intention to decontaminate and decommission the LCF. The US Department of Energy (DOE) had announced in September 2015 that it would not fund additional operations as the centrifuge cascade had successfully delivered the necessary data. Centrus in May 2016 asked the NRC to remove enrichment capability from the LCF's licence, downgrading the facility to "limited operations". The NRC has since verified that Centrus has removed all process gas in the form of UF6, and that all the facility's classified equipment, including centrifuges and piping, has been shipped offsite for appropriate disposition. The LCF's licensee, Centrus subsidiary American Centrifuge Operating, LLC, in January requested NRC approval of its decommissioning plan, which includes release criteria and the design of a final status survey to verify that residual contamination levels are less than regulatory limits. Such approval is needed for final decommissioning of the LCF, termination of its licence, and the potential future release of the site and its return to its owner, the DOE. The NRC's environmental assessment, and its conclusion that the proposed decommissioning plan will not significantly affect the quality of the human environment, were published in the US Federal Register on 1 August. Although the American Centrifuge Plant has not been built, Centrus continues to perform engineering and testing work on centrifuge enrichment technology under contract to the DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, to preserve and advance US-origin uranium enrichment technology to support future national security and energy security needs.


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