USEC has announced that its American Centrifuge research development and demonstration (RD&D) programme remains "on budget and on schedule."

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USEC has announced that its American Centrifuge research development and demonstration (RD&D) programme remains "on budget and on schedule."

It also confirmed that it received an additional $44 million of funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE) in March. DOE has agreed to provide $280 million or 80% of the total funding for the RD&D programme, which is expected to run until the end of 2013.

In a project update, on 18 March, USEC said that installation of plant support systems and AC100 centrifuge machines for the RD&D commercial cascade was "nearing completion," and that operation of the demonstration commercial cascade is expected "in the second half of 2013."

It did note, however, that it is ‘facing challenges’ ensuring the ability and willingness of strategic suppliers to continue at low rates of production for a prolonged period of time, without greater certainty on project funding or schedule.

"We are working with our strategic suppliers to maintain the manufacturing infrastructure developed over the last several years. However, we are constrained by our reduced level of spending," USEC said.

USEC also noted that around 300 new jobs have been added in recent months, bringing the RD&D programme workforce to around 1200.

The RD&D programme aims to reduced the technical risk and improve the future prospects for the commercial deployment of American Centrifuge technology.