Cost for uranium plant rises to $3.5 billion

Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Associated Press

Piketon, Ohio- The company building a proposed uranium-enrichment plant in southern Ohio said the project's cost has jumped to $3.5 billion, more than double the original estimate.

USEC Inc., based in Bethesda, Md., is developing the American Centrifuge project at an old atomic weapons plant about 65 miles south of Columbus. The plant would enrich uranium for nuclear reactors using centrifugal force, considered to be much more efficient than the 1950s-developed gaseous diffusion method.

USEC said Monday that the rising costs of construction materials, skilled labor and commodities have caused the company to review the project's budget.

Five years ago, the project was thought to cost $1.7 billion. That rose to $2.3 billion last February, also prompted by increased materials and commodities costs.

A comprehensive project budget will be released in the second quarter, USEC President John Welch said in a statement.