The U.S. government began enriching uranium in the 1940s for defense purposes. In the 1960s, it began providing commercial sales of enriched uranium to the commercial nuclear power industry worldwide. Over the next twenty years, the U.S. government’s uranium enrichment complex became the primary supplier of low-enriched uranium to reactor operators around the world, helping to promote the peaceful use of nuclear power and advance the nation’s nonproliferation agenda.
In the 1970s, the Nixon administration first proposed the privatization of the government’s enrichment business. Two decades later, the Energy Policy Act of 1992 created the United States Enrichment Corporation, a government corporation, out of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Uranium Enrichment Enterprise, with plans to eventually fully privatize the government’s uranium enrichment organization. The new government corporation began operations in July 1993.
The U.S. government sold the company in an initial public offering in 1998, and USEC Inc., a private, investor-owned company, began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Proceeds from the sale provided more than $3 billion to the U.S. Treasury. The company continued to operate the country’s Cold War era enrichment plants safely and efficiently until the last one was shut down for economic reasons in 2013.
In the early 1990s, the United States and Russia reached a landmark agreement that would turn former Soviet nuclear weapons material into fuel to power America’s civilian nuclear reactors. The company played a key role in implementing the deal, marketing the downblended material to U.S. utilities and arranging for deliveries. From 1993 to 2013, the “Megatons to Megawatts” partnership provided enough fuel to generate 10% of America’s electricity needs. It was the most successful non-proliferation effort in history – eliminating more than 20,000 warheads worth of weapons-grade material. That corresponds to the elimination of three bomb equivalents per day for twenty years.
After a financial restructuring in 2014, the company re-emerged as Centrus Energy Corp., with a stronger balance sheet and a new board of directors. In 2015, the Board selected a new leadership team, which is focused on expanding and diversifying its business. Today, the company has a multibillion-dollar long-term order book with customers around the world, a diverse base of nuclear fuel supply contracts stretching to 2026 and beyond, world-class technical capabilities, and a strong market opportunity as the global nuclear industry continues to grow.