At a time when Congress is weighing making drastic cuts in US defense spending, our government is financially propping up domestic commercial uranium enrichment capacity with direct appropriations and possible loan guarantees. One such case in controversy is the United States Enrichment Corporation’s American Centrifuge Project.
The key arguments made for such spending turns on purported legal and defense requirements, each of which was examined at a Center for Strategic and International Studies panel held last week on uranium enrichment and US national security.
NPEC executive director Henry Sokolski challenges these claims and suggests the practicality of relying on existing defense stockpiles and the enrichment services of Louisiana Energy Services in New Mexico. He also discusses the potential proliferation concerns raised by new commercial enrichment technologies, such as SILEX, and explains why federal loan guarantees are unnecessary and undesirable to support the construction of additional US enrichment capacity either for commercial or military purposes.