“The real risks of this nuclear bailout is for taxpayers, who will be on the hook for questionable government handouts that are worth more than the entire company,”
Energy Department Steps in to Help Uranium Enrichment Company, NYT, By MATTHEW L. WALD, June 13, 2012, WASHINGTON — The Energy Department announced Wednesday that it was stepping in to shore up an ailing company it created in the 1990s to privatize uranium enrichment,calling the rescue vital to maintaining nuclear weapons and national security. The goal is to help the company, USEC, once known as the United States Enrichment Corporation, finish development work on a plant in Portsmouth, Ohio, that uses a new kind of centrifuge that the Energy Department hopes will leapfrog over existing European technology.
The department is taking control of tons of uranium left over from USEC’s enrichment operations that is considered to be waste and is thus listed by the company as a liability. That will in effect add $88 million to the company’s balance sheet, officials said. The aid was granted in anticipation of approval of the deal in Congress, where the nuclear weapons argument resonates. The administration hopes that lawmakers will grant its request for substantially more aid to the company, perhaps an additional $190 million or so, department officials said….. Representative Edward J. Markey, Democrat of Massachusetts, criticized the rescue plan. “The real risks of this nuclear bailout is for taxpayers, who will be on the hook for questionable government handouts that are worth more than the entire company,” he said.
USEC has been seeking a $2 billion loan guarantee to build a full-scale enrichment plant, but the Energy Department has said that it was not certain that the technology was ready. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/14/science/earth/energy-department-steps-in-to-help-uranium-enrichment-company.html