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USEC says program on budget, on schedule

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) -- Energy company USEC Inc. said Monday that its American centrifuge research, development and demonstration program is on budget and on schedule, with five of the nine milestones certified by the Department of Energy.

The program will ensure that the U.S. has its own indigenous uranium enrichment technology to meet national security needs.

Shares climbed to their highest point in more than a year.

USEC — which supplies enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants — said that Energy Department certification of a sixth milestone that tested the effects of a power loss to uranium centrifuge machines is pending. The remaining three milestones are expected to be completed in December.

The company also amended a cooperative agreement with the Energy Department that provides an additional $29.9 million in funding. That brings total funding from the Energy Department to $227.7 million, which is enough to fund the program through September's end.

The cooperative agreement accounts for a cost-sharing split of 80 percent and 20 percent between the Energy Department and USEC respectively, up to $350 million. The Energy Department's total contribution would be up to $280 million, while the USEC's would be up to $70 million.

USEC's stock gained $7.76, or 40.4 percent, to $26.97 in midday trading. The shares touched $28.64 earlier in the session, the highest level since June 2012.