Ohio has a rich manufacturing tradition, from building the ships that helped win World War II to assembling the cars that keep America running. It is also critical in supporting the nation’s energy security.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and the Inflation Reduction Act are investing billions in climate provisions to support President Biden’s goal of decarbonizing the electric grid by 2035 and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
These new laws incentivize deploying clean energy technologies nationwide, including nuclear power.
Nuclear power is not new to Ohio.
The state’s two reactors at Davis-Besse and Perry provide 14% of Ohio’s electricity. They also generate 83% of its clean energy, support 1,400 local jobs and bring in millions yearly through state and federal taxes. These taxes help fund local infrastructure projects and schools.
Preserving these plants is crucial to climate goals and energy security as they work to deploy a new generation of reactors shortly.
A pressing need for HALEU
Advanced reactors can be smaller, more efficient, and more flexible. They can also operate at higher temperatures to produce heat and electricity for non-electric applications, such as clean hydrogen production, which can open up new markets for the industry.
Many of these designs require a more enriched fuel that is not available on a commercial scale. This is high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), for which a pressing need exists.
The U.S. Department of Energy selected American Centrifuge Operating, a subsidiary of Centrus Energy, to demonstrate HALEU production at the Department’s enrichment facility in Piketon.
Since 1952, this community has had a knowledgeable and experienced workforce to support uranium enrichment operations.
The Piketon plant is the only one in the country licensed by regulatory agencies. This to enrich uranium to HALEU levels of 19.95 percent. It also supports more than 100 local jobs that will be crucial to this demonstration and the nuclear industry’s success in general.
HALEU Production Demonstration
The demonstration builds on an earlier three-year project with Centrus. This to fabricate and assemble 16 advanced centrifuges and install them in an enrichment cascade. The focus is now on start-up and operation. A crucial first step in laying the groundwork for larger-scale commercial production in the United States.
Centrus plans to:
- produce 20 kilograms of HALEU by the end of 2023
- scale up production to 900 kilograms per year starting in 2024.
The material will help fuel the initial cores of two demonstration reactors awarded under the Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program. It will also help qualify new fuel types and test new reactor designs.
This demonstration will meet all requirements set by federal and state regulatory authorities. They are committed to implementing stringent control and transparent reporting systems to ensure safe operations at the facility.
The ultimate success of this demonstration will drive a new wave of innovation in nuclear energy. Ohio already has an impressive track record in driving significant projects of national significance such as this one.
From the commissioning of a new electric vehicle battery plant in 2025 to the demonstration of clean hydrogen production at Davis-Besse. The path to clean energy innovation in the U.S. appears through the Buckeye State.
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