Ohio uranium enrichment facility is first of its kind erected since 1954
Centrus Energy announced October 11 that it has begun enrichment operations at its High-Assay Low-Enriched Uranium (HALEU) facility in Piketon, Ohio, and expects to begin withdrawing HALEU product later this month. It is the only NRC-licensed HALEU facility in the United States and the first new U.S.-owned, U.S.-technology uranium enrichment plant to begin production since 1954.
Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk, National Association of Building Trade Unions President Sean McGarvey, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons, and Pike County Commissioner Tony Montgomery joined Centrus President and CEO Daniel Poneman to mark this historic milestone in the restoration of U.S. nuclear leadership.
"This moment holds great pride – and promise – for the Nation," said Poneman. "We hope that this demonstration cascade will soon be joined by thousands of additional centrifuges right here in Piketon to produce the HALEU needed to fuel the next generation of advanced reactors, Low-Enriched-Uranium to sustain the existing fleet of reactors, and the enriched uranium needed to sustain our nuclear deterrent for generations to come. This is how the United States can recover its lost nuclear independence."
"It's remarkable what we can accomplish in the truly American public, private partnership model. For the first time ever, an American company is producing HALEU on American soil, providing critical fuel for advanced nuclear reactors, a statement that America's committed to our energy security," Deputy Energy Secretary Turk said at the event.
Centrus met every required milestone on time and on budget during construction of the cascade and is starting production two months earlier than scheduled under the competitively-awarded, cost-shared contract the company signed with the U.S. Department of Energy in 2022.
HALEU is an advanced nuclear fuel required for most of the next-generation reactor designs currently under development. The capacity of the 16-centrifuge cascade is modest – about 900 kilograms of HALEU per year – but with sufficient funding and offtake commitments, Centrus could significantly expand production. A full-scale HALEU cascade, consisting of 120 centrifuge machines, with a combined capacity to produce approximately 6,000 kilograms of HALEU per year (6 MTU/year), could be producing HALEU 42 months after securing the necessary funding. With appropriate support, Centrus could add a second HALEU cascade six months later and subsequent cascades every two months after that. That would mobilize hundreds of union workers in Ohio to build and operate the plant and support thousands of direct and indirect jobs across a nationwide manufacturing supply chain. The Piketon facility has ample space for the thousands of machines that will be needed to meet the growing demand for enriched uranium in the decades to come.