American Centrifuge prototype machines in the Lead Cascade test programme.
American Centrifuge prototype machines in the Lead Cascade test programme.
The American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio, will have an initial planned capacity of 3.8 million SWU (separative work units) per year.
The American Centrifuge Plant in Piketon, Ohio, will have an initial planned capacity of 3.8 million SWU (separative work units) per year.

The composite materials will be manufactured in the TenCate Advanced Composites facilities in Northern California, USA. TenCate’s sales as a result of this supply agreement will start as from 2010, provided USEC receives US Department of Energy (DOE) debt funding for the uranium enrichment project.

TenCate and its subsidiaries YLA Inc and CCS Composites Inc in Benicia, California, USA, have provided ATK with high modulus prepregs and compression moulded parts for many years for critical aerospace and satellite programmes. ATK is the manufacturer of composite rotor tubes used in the centrifuge method enrichment process. ATK will fabricate these tubes in its Rocket Center facility in West Virginia, USA.

“We are pleased to have been selected by ATK to participate as co-supplier in this programme,” says Scott Unger, President of TenCate Advanced Composites USA. “The experience of TenCate with high modulus prepreg systems for satellite programmes has provided the expertise needed to transition this material from select aerospace usage into an important industrial infrastructure programme. The American Centrifuge Plant is an important element in the US’s goal to achieve energy independence.”

USEC Inc (United States Enrichment Corporation) in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, is a supplier of enriched uranium fuel for nuclear power plants. It currently operates the only uranium enrichment facility in the USA and supplies more than a quarter of the world market.

USEC's American Centrifuge Plant will replace its existing gaseous diffusion plant and be the only domestic US owned and operated enrichment facility. The centrifuge method uses cascades of large numbers of composite rotor tubes and is more cost effective than the gas diffusion enrichment process. USEC is awaiting approval from the DOE Loan Guarantee programme as the path for obtaining debt funding to complete the American Centrifuge Plant. A decision is expected by early August.