PADUCAH, Ky. (July 17, 2013) — Unable to reach a deal for the short-term extension of uranium enrichment at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, the United States Enrichment Corp. (USEC) will begin laying off employees in August.
USEC officials said that despite the excellent performance of its workforce, high production costs because of the large power consumption of the plant and falling prices in the global nuclear fuel market have made it difficult to continue commercial enrichment at the plant.
Layoff notifications have been sent to all Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant salaried employees and employees who are represented by the United Steelworkers International Union, Local 550 – a total of approximately 1,030 workers. USEC expects that initial layoffs of about 160 employees will occur in August, with additional layoffs occurring in stages during the remainder of 2013 and/or 2014, depending on business needs to manage inventory, fulfill orders, meet regulatory requirements and transition the site back to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). (USEC leases the plant from the DOE.)
“We will continue to meet our customers’ orders from our existing inventory, purchases from Russia under the historic Megatons to Megawatts program and our transitional supply contract with Russia that runs through 2022,” said Roger Van Namen, USEC senior vice president and chief operating officer. “In addition, our work to commercialize the American Centrifuge technology continues through our research, development and demonstration program with DOE, which remains on schedule and within budget, as we remain on a path to deploy this critical technology. We will be working with DOE during the coming months and expect to reach agreement on how to best transition the site.”