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Alliant Techsystems is performing work under an initial $10 million contract to prepare for high-volume manufacturing of composite rotor tubes for USEC Inc.’s American Centrifuge program.
ATK expects to provide USEC with approximately 12,000 rotor tubes throughout the four-year production run, making this program the largest commercial composite production program in ATK’s history. When completed, ATK estimates that total revenue from the program may exceed $250 million.
Each rotor tube is approximately 24 inches in diameter and about 43 feet long. The tubes will be used by USEC in a gas centrifuge process that will yield enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants. The centrifuge process is significantly more cost effective than the traditional gaseous diffusion process, using only 5 percent of the electricity used in the current process.
“”Power generation is the most recent example of how ATK’s industry-leading expertise in the design, development and production of advanced composite structures is dramatically altering the landscape of traditional manufacturing materials and processes, said Jack Cronin, President, ATK Mission Systems Group. “”The strength, reduced-weight and low-cost of composite materials have a long and valued heritage in space exploration and launch vehicles, but today are equally at home in military and commercial aircraft, as well as power- generation, shipbuilding and many other industries.””
“”We’re proud to have ATK manufacture rotor tubes for USEC’s American Centrifuge Plant,”” said John K. Welch, USEC president and chief executive officer. “”ATK’s manufacturing expertise and American know-how will support the only domestic uranium enrichment facility using U.S. centrifuge technology, which makes the American Centrifuge Plant strategically important to our nation’s energy security, energy independence and industrial manufacturing base.””
Work on the demonstration and qualification phase of the program is being performed at ATK’s Space Systems & Sensors facility in Clearfield, Utah. Once qualified, ATK intends to transition production to its manufacturing center of excellence in Rocket Center, West Virginia. The rotor tubes will be shipped to USEC’s production facility in Piketon, Ohio, beginning in 2008.
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