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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Areva plans to build $2 billion uranium plant in Idaho

French-owned energy services company Areva NC Inc. will build a $2 billion uranium enrichment plant near the eastern Idaho city of Idaho Falls, after winning tax concessions from the state Legislature.
The plant will be built near the Idaho National Laboratory, where scientists have done research into nuclear energy since the 1940s, the company said Tuesday.
A late-session push in the Legislature earlier this year extended a sales tax exemption for production equipment that handles nuclear fuel and capped property tax valuations at the proposed plant at $400 million.
Areva plans to build the plant by 2014. A program in which Russia has been converting weapons-grade uranium to uranium suitable for use in electricity-producing reactors and selling it to an Areva rival expires in 2013.
"The United States needs more clean energy to support its economic growth," Michael McMurphy, Areva NC's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "To enable us to meet those needs we have to expand our domestic nuclear infrastructure, secure our supply of enrichment services, and reduce our reliance on foreign imports. This new enrichment plant is a critical part of this process."
Before the plant is built, Areva still must get approval from local, state and national agencies, including a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to construct and operate the facility.
Areva selected Idaho over sites in Washington state, Ohio, Texas and New Mexico.
"While we had several attractive sites to choose from, we opted for Idaho Falls, which has strong ties to nuclear energy, and which welcomed Areva and its proposed enrichment facility to become a new member of its community," McMurphy said.
Areva NC, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., is a subsidiary of France's Areva Group. Areva also is building a similar, larger uranium enrichment plant in France.
The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission took applications to build seven new commercial U.S. nuclear reactors last year, with 25 more licensing requests expected through 2009. As interest in nuclear power grows, there are two other uranium enrichment plants being built in the United States, one in southeastern New Mexico and another in Piketon, Ohio.

(Source: Seattle Times)


Anonymous said...

Yet more high paying American jobs being created from nuclear energy. 2 billion sounds like a big enrichment plant but honestly I don't know much about enrichment plants.

There are proposals for 7 Areva EPR 1600 MW plants in the USA so far according to the world nuclear association.. So Areva could become huge building and supplying many reactors. I think Areva is involved in mining uranium too.


Alexandra Prokopenko said...

Yes, they are involved in uranium mining, you can check the figures here : http://www.us.areva-nc.com/Businesses/businesses_uranium_products_and_services/businesses_uranium_products_and_services_uranium_mining.html

Anonymous said...

Nice Areva mines 20% of the world's uranium production.. And I do like the French vertical integration. When its done right its very advantageous.

As you sign a deal with Areva, and they can take care of all your needs, you don't have to worry about getting the supplies of uranium or figuring out how and where to enrich it. You just put up xxxxxx$ and Areva gets power for you.

I wonder if Areva building enrichment in America is part of the deal for Areva to operate in America..


Anonymous said...

Interesting fact from the link you posted, 25% of world enrichment from one site:

AREVA currently markets enrichment services provided by the Georges Besse gaseous diffusion plant in France. The plant safely and effectively meets 25 percent of the world’s enrichment needs, producing a very high-quality enriched product with uranium 235 content of up to 5 percent.