Centrus, Part 1: The private company costing you billions, affecting national security

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Centrus Energy is one of those odd birds in the private sector that should be looked at very closely. It is a publicly traded company that can’t exist without taxpayer money. The Government Accountability Office has shown that there are questionable ways in which the government helps the company. The company, which is the only American company allowed to enrich uranium, was created by an act of Congress. All of this has grown into what has cost this country billions and there is still no valid use for the company.

The founding:

Centrus Energy was originally known as the United States Enrichment Corporation. It was created by the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and further defined by the USEC Privatization Act in 1995. Few companies can show that sort of birth. The federal government, in their wisdom, wanted to privatize uranium enrichment for nuclear power plants. Instead of allowing companies to grow in the United States to handle to situation, they took the government owned property and turned it into a near monopoly. The properties had been operating for decades and were extremely contaminated.

The corporation was created on July 28, 1993 and an initial public offering occurred. The United States government got three billion from investors. The company had properties all over the nation and it looked to be a sound investment to get an already running entity. That was the way it seemed at the time.

The property in Piketon, Ohio near Portsmouth utilized gaseous diffusion for enrichment. The company ended that in May of 2001. Those activities were moved to Paducah, Kentucky. The company restarted using Piketon in 2009 for a demonstration gas centrifuge facility. In July of that year, the company tried to get loan guarantees for $2 billion, which the government said no to. They said it was not commercially viable. They did offer $45 million to further along the research. The company went into financial meltdown at that time.

That financial slide went lasted until December 16, 2013 when the company did a voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The corporation restructured. The company also changed its name to Centrus Energy, keeping the USEC name for one of the divisions.

The new CEO:

One of the new issues that has caused people to look at the actions of Centrus is the new President and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Poneman. During the Obama Administration, he was the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Energy. He was also the acting Secretary for around a month. Any company needs help to expand and have help for their business, but this causes people who are against the constant revolving door of people gaining inside knowledge getting cushy positions in the private sector to have issues. The choice was a bold move and is already having people question certain actions that have occurred since.

In this multi-part series, there will be many cogs shown. It will take a while to show every problem and corruption. It will be a long read, but it will show that for over two decades the federal government has allowed waste and abuse that has affected national security and people’s lives.

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