The Paducah Sun
The Paducah Sun
Paducah, Kentucky
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

USEC to begin reviewing Kentucky, Ohio proposals

By Joe Walker

USEC Inc. said Tuesday that it had received final incentive proposals from Kentucky and Ohio for a 50-job plant to test enriching uranium by gas centrifuge starting in 2005.

Gov. Paul Patton presented Kentucky's multimillion-dollar package to USEC Chief Executive Officer William "Nick" Timbers on Thursday in Paducah at a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. The packages remain confidential pending USEC review.

"We appreciate the thoughtful proposals put together by the states of Kentucky and Ohio, and we will continue to work with both states to ensure that we make the most economical and appropriate decision," said Dennis Spurgeon, USEC executive vice president and chief operating officer.

USEC will decide in about a month where to build the plant, which will provide updated cost, schedule and performance data for a commercial plant costing roughly $1.5 billion by the end of the decade. The firm has said the winner of the test plant will have an advantage in getting the 500-job commercial plant, which will eventually replace the outdated Paducah factory.

Also Tuesday, USEC reported quarterly earnings of $1.2 million, or 1 cent per share, compared with a loss of $4.7 million, or 6 cents per share, during the same period a year ago. USEC, based in Bethesda, Md., repeated that it expects to earn $9 million to $12 million for the fiscal year ending June 30 down from $78.4 million in fiscal 2001 and $16.2 million last fiscal year.

The projections reflect spending about $150 million during the next few years toward the test plant. During the last quarter, ending Sept. 30, USEC spent $6 million on centrifuge development.

Because of the significant decline in earnings, questions remain about USEC's ability to fund the commercial plant.

"We are confident that successful demonstration of the (test plant) will attract partners and/or investors for the construction of the commercial enrichment plant," Spurgeon said.