In late March, I called out USEC (NYSE:USU) for running some "fluff" PR proclaiming that customers like Exelon (NYSE:EXC) were just itching to take planned uranium fuel production off the enricher's hands. Standing in the way of this rosy future, however, was an uncertain $2 billion loan application with the Department of Energy.

Well, uncertainty has given way to certainty. Unfortunately for USEC investors, the certainty is that USEC will not be receiving the DOE loan. The government said the company had yet to clear "technical and financial hurdles" in rejecting the application Tuesday.

USEC, in turn, announced it will take steps to demobilize its American Centrifuge Plant and explore strategic alternatives. I presume that means a sale to someone like McDermott (NYSE:MDR) subsidiary B&W, or Shaw Group's (NYSE:SGR) buddy Westinghouse Electric. One analyst suggested General Electric (NYSE:GE) as another potential bidder, but I would think GE is rather preoccupied with its global laser enrichment venture.

Interestingly, the only other competitor vying for this DOE money is another Shaw Group collaborator -- France's Areva. At first, you might think the Obama administration would catch some serious heat for picking a company part-owned by the French government over a homegrown enrichment shop. But jobs are jobs, and Areva is investing significant resources in the American nuclear revival. Just look at the recent groundbreaking of Areva's and Northrop Grumman's (NYSE:NOC) heavy components facility in Newport News, Va., which promises to bring 500 jobs for skilled workers to that state.

Anyway, back to USEC. I told you guys this was a highly speculative investment. The Motley Fool CAPS community, which has been overwhelmingly bullish on the stock, just got this one utterly wrong. I believe that those who jumped in and bought shares on the plunge, or gave the stock a fresh thumbs-up in CAPS, are wrong as well. Given its outdated assets, this company has no future without the American Centrifuge Plant, and hence without outside capital. I just don't see any potential acquirer rushing in to pay more than $1 billion for this company (don't forget the debt load), with USEC boxed in to this degree.

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Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. Check out his CAPS profile or follow his articles using Twitter or RSS. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.