Thursday, May 21, 2015

Former DOE Employee Goes to Work for "World's Leading Supplier of Enriched Uranium Fuel for Commercial Nuclear Power Plants

Birch, Douglas (2015, May 13) Former Energy Department official wins huge pay raise after moving to firm with deep ties to DOE. His new employer is seeking a $2 billion loan guarantee from his former employer, and he’s already chatting about the company with officials at a DOE lab. Center for Public Integrity,
[excerpted] Five months after Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman resigned and left the department’s Forrestal Building in Washington, he started a new job eleven miles away as president of a troubled corporation that he had championed while serving in the department’s top ranks.

Over five-and-a-half years as the department’s chief operating officer, Poneman approved or advocated giving hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts and other assistance to the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) during public hearings and private discussions with lawmakers and White House officials, according to interviews with those present.

The company, which processes uranium and sells nuclear fuel under its current name of Centrus Energy, gave Poneman a roughly 700 percent pay raise when it hired him as its chief executive officer on March 5. It will pay him roughly $1.5 million in salary and bonuses this year and up to $2 million starting in 2016, according to the company’s reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission. His salary at the DOE was $178,700 a year.

It’s common for federal officials to move from government to industry, expanding their contacts and influence in the former and their salary in the latter. But Poneman’s passage from government overseer to a company he financed with public funds has drawn unusually harsh and bipartisan scrutiny from lawmakers and watchdog groups...[end]


Centrus emerged from bankruptcy in 2014, having changed its name from USEC


USEC Inc., a global energy company, is the world’s leading supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants.

More background from the Washington Post
[From the Washington Post] Centrus Energy sells enriched uranium to utility companies that operate nuclear power plants. Though the majority of its customers are in North America, Jacobson said the firm sees opportunities abroad as developing countries consume more electricity and look for clean and inexpensive energy sources.

“We constantly are pursuing global business, and now that we’re on firmer financial grounds and don’t have this debt hanging over us, we very much will pursue that,” Jacobson said.

Still on hold is the company’s American Centrifuge project, which calls for a large uranium enrichment facility to be built in Piketon, Ohio. The company said its technology has been tested and validated by the Department of Energy, but it has been unable to secure necessary financing because of the uncertain nuclear energy market.

Centrus Energy Corp Class A, Inst Holders, 4Q 2014 (LEU)
The following table shows the largest shareholders in CENTRUS ENERGY CL A (LEU) for the quarter ended December 31, 2014, listed by holding size. The list represents up to 50 of the largest holders in the company.  Note: Unless otherwise mentioned the reporting date is 12/31/2014 Institution Shares Shares % Last
Held Changed Held Report
Fidelity Management & Research 543,182 543,182 7.181 09/30
Whitebox Advisors LLC 482,701 482,701 6.382 09/30
Heights Capital Management In 336,124 336,124 4.444 09/30
Aristeia Capital LLC 320,447 320,447 4.236 09/30
DuPont Capital Management Corp 274,757 274,757 3.632 09/30
Wolverine Asset Management LLC 264,290

(5 years 2 months)New York, NY ARISTEIA CAPITAL LLC

Service Providers


Prime Broker
Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.
Prime Broker
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Prime Broker
J.P. Morgan Clearing Corp.
Prime Broker
Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing Corp.
Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.
Goldman Sachs Bank Usa
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
J.P. Morgan Clearing Corp.
Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing Corp.
U.S. Bank National Association
Ernst & Young


"A custodian bank, or simply custodian, is a specialized financial institution responsible for safeguarding a firm's or individual's financial assets and is not engaged in "traditional" commercial or consumer/retail banking such as mortgage or personal lending, branch banking, personal accounts, automated teller machines (ATMs) and so forth. The role of a custodian in such a case would be to:
  • hold in safekeeping assets/securities such as stocks, bonds, commodities such as precious metals and currency (cash), domestic and foreign
  • arrange settlement of any purchases and sales and deliveries in/out of such securities and currency
  • collect information on and income from such assets (dividends in the case of stocks/equities and coupons (interest payments) in the case of bonds) and administer related tax withholding documents and foreign tax reclamation
  • administer voluntary and involuntary corporate actions on securities held such as stock dividends, stock splits, business combinations (mergers), tender offers, bond calls, etc.
  • provide information on the securities and their issuers such as annual general meetings and related proxies
  • maintain currency/cash bank accounts, effect deposits and withdrawals and manage other cash transactions
  • perform foreign exchange transactions
  • often perform additional services for particular clients such as mutual funds; examples include fund accounting, administration, legal, compliance and tax support services
Using US definitions, a person who owns street name securities and who is not a member of an exchange, holds the securities through a registration chain which involves one or more custodians. This is due to the perceived impracticality of registering traded securities in the name of each individual holder; instead, the custodian or custodians are registered as the holders and hold the securities in a fiduciary arrangement for the ultimate security holders.


USEC Inc., a global energy company, is the world’s leading supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants.

% Change
Centrus Energy Corp.


The nuclear industry is tightly owned and controlled by a narrow range of industry players, hedge funds, and investment banks. As illustrated by Poneman's move to join Centrus, regulatory capture threatens government's capacity to act in the public interest. Poneman has been advocating for Japan to resume its pluthermal nuclear program and has supported the Rokkasho reprocessing site, which sits on a fault:
Japan made secret promise with U.S. to restart pluthermal nuclear program (2013, June 25). The Mainichi (NO ACTIVE LINK AVAILABLE BUT STORY FOUND ACROSS WEB) A Japanese prime ministerial envoy secretly promised to the United States that Japan would resume its controversial "pluthermal" program, using light-water reactors to burn plutonium, according to documents obtained by the Mainichi.

The secret promise was made by Hiroshi Ogushi, then parliamentary secretary of the Cabinet Office, to Daniel Poneman, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, during Ogushi's visit to the United States on behalf of then Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in September last year.

The revelation comes as Japan's pluthermal project remains suspended in the wake of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster due to safety concerns. The fact that a Japanese official promised to the U.S. to implement such a controversial project without a prior explanation to the Japanese public is expected to stir up controversy. [end]

Japan's Well-Placed Nuclear Power Advocates Swat Away Opponents By Douglas Birch and R. Jeffrey Smith"Obviously what is done in the long term at Rokkasho is a decision for the Japanese people, the Japanese government to make," Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman said during a July 2012 press conference in Tokyo. He added that "to the extent that there would be paths forward for Rokkasho" that could avoid increasing Japan's stockpile of plutonium, "that would be a good thing." Poneman coupled this, however, with a public pitch for letting Japan use nuclear power to reduce carbon emissions, acknowledging that it is an important tool "for our friends and colleagues in Japan … who are very worried about climate change."


  1. Recently I listened to a two part interview with Ralph Nadar at Democracy Now. He referred to the Republican Party as a death cult which I found to be very accurate. Unfortunately the rare few in politics like Ralph Nadar are not listened to. There really seems to be a kind of deadly fatalism which has over taken the nation. So many are willing to do anything for money with absolutely no thought for the next generations. There is definitely something about contemporary life in this country which is unbalancing people. Decades of advertising, TV, drugs, bad education, etc.

    1. Unbalancing was engineered.

      Read about Edward Bernays and watch the Century of the Self directed by Adam Curtis available at Vimeo.


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