By Garima Goel
Oct 2 USEC Inc may have to furlough some
employees at a uranium enrichment project if the U.S. government
shutdown extends beyond Oct. 15, a company spokesman said.
USEC, a supplier of enriched uranium for commercial nuclear
power plants, needs about $48 million to complete the
$350-million American Centrifuge project in Ohio, which is 80
percent funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
The plant, which will produce low-enriched uranium used to
make nuclear fuel, employs 959 workers, mainly in Ohio and
Tennessee. It is scheduled to be completed by the end of this
"The money that would allow us to carry on for the next two
weeks is the fiscal year 2013 funds that we have been able to
carry over," Paul Jacobson, vice-president of corporate
communications, told Reuters.
Congressional Republicans and the White House are in a
stalemate over government funding, which has forced the first
government shutdown in 17 years.
USEC, which has about 1,770 employees, did not disclose how
many employees could be furloughed.
"We would have to consider a variety of options related to
suppliers and furlough of employees and so forth," Jacobson
said, adding that slowing work was another option.
The company has another uranium enrichment plant in Paducah,
Kentucky. The project is owned by the DOE and operated by USEC.
The company is in talks with the DOE to return its lease on
the project and the shutdown could delay the process, Jacobson
USEC shares have risen 40 percent in the last three months.
But traders have attributed the spike to a short squeeze, a
rapid gain that occurs when traders who had bet that a stock
would fall cover their bets in order to protect themselves
against further losses.