Trusted Nuclear Partner to the World
In an interview with nationally syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt, Centrus President and CEO Dan Poneman called for a resurgence of U.S. leadership in nuclear energy and for restoring America’s domestic enrichment capability.
Centrus Energy Corp. is a trusted supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants in the United States and around the world. With world-class technical and engineering capabilities, Centrus is advancing the next generation of centrifuge technologies so that America can restore its domestic uranium enrichment capacity.
Our mission is to provide reliable and competitive fuel goods and services to meet the needs of our customers, consistent with the highest levels of integrity, safety, and security.
During the Manhattan Project, scientists and engineers in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, developed and built the world’s first large-scale uranium enrichment facilities.
In the decade after World War II, the country greatly expanded its enrichment capability. Three huge Gaseous Diffusion Plants in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Ohio – originally built for defense purposes – were the dominant source of fuel for most of the world’s civilian nuclear reactors through the 1970s, helping advance the cause of non-proliferation. U.S. enriched uranium exports required acceptance of nonproliferation commitments and International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards against diversion to military uses.
The United States’ role as the assured supplier of enriched uranium fuel has steadily declined since the late 1970s. While enrichment programs in Russia, Europe and China have expanded in recent years, the United States shut down its three enrichment plants in 1985, 2001 and 2013, without building a replacement that can meet U.S. national security requirements. The country now lacks a domestic enrichment capability for national security purposes for the the first time since the Manhattan project. Learn more about the national security importance of domestic enrichment capability.
Bipartisan legislation passed in the 1990s privatized the U.S. enrichment enterprise, creating the United States Enrichment Corporation, the predecessor to Centrus. Proceeds from the sale of the company generated $3 billion for the U.S. Treasury.
Under a landmark agreement between the United States and Russia, 500 metric tons of former Soviet nuclear weapons material was converted into fuel for America’s civilian power reactors. The U.S. Government appointed USEC as its executive agent for the program, which became known as “Megatons to Megawatts.” The fuel supplied 10% of U.S. electricity needs for two decades while permanently eliminating 20,000 warheads worth of weapons-grade material by the time the last shipment of fuel was received at the end of 2013.
After a downturn in global enrichment prices driven by the ongoing market effects of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, the company filed for bankruptcy to restructure debts that were incurred to finance the development of new enrichment technology. The company emerged from this restructuring in October 2014 as Centrus Energy Corp. The newly reorganized company retains strong technical capabilities and long-term sales and supply contracts stretching more than a decade into the future.
Under new management, Centrus continues to book new sales and is adding to the diversity of its supply base. As the global enrichment market recovers in the coming years, the company remains committed to restoring America’s domestic enrichment capability and meeting the needs of our customers around the world. With world-class technical capabilities, a multibillion dollar order book, and long-term supply and sales agreements through 2026 and beyond, Centrus is well-positioned for the future.