Contracts for new US Areva plants

23 July 2008

Two contracts have been awarded related to new Areva facilities in the USA. One concerns an environmental study of an enrichment plant; the other, detailed engineering of sintering furnaces for a MOX plant.

Consulting firm MWH has been awarded a contract by Areva NC to provide environmental services to assist in the licensing of Areva's proposed $2 billion uranium enrichment plant in Idaho. Under the terms of the $1.7 million contract, MWH will provide services for the environmental report that will be part of the licence application for submission to the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).


  Eagle Rock


  Areva has decided to call  
  its future uranium
  enrichment plant the
  Eagle Rock Enrichment

  The company said the
  eagle "envisions the
  strength of America as it
  moves towards clean
  energy security," while
  the rock represents 
  "endurance and quality."

  Most of all, the company
  said, the moniker also
  coincides with the early 
  name of nearby Idaho
  Falls, which was 
  known as Eagle Rock.


MWH helped Areva in selecting Bonneville County, Idaho, as the site of its proposed US enrichment plant. The site location was chosen after an extensive technical and environmental analysis of several potential sites throughout the USA. The new plant will provide uranium enrichment services to US nuclear plant operators using advanced proven centrifuge technology developed by the Urenco and Enrichment Technology Company Ltd (ETC), an Areva subsidiary. Its capacity will be 3 million separative work units (SWU) per year.

Areva expects to apply for an NRC licence during 2008 with a view to operation in 2014, ramping up to full capacity in 2019. It will be a smaller version of Areva's new French plant, George Besse II.

MOX plant contract

Meanwhile, Advanced Metallurgical Group NV (AMG) announced that Furnaces Nuclear Applications Grenoble SA, in which its Engineering Systems Division holds a 50% stake, has been awarded a contract by Shaw Areva MOX Services. The contract is for the detailed engineering of two vacuum-type sintering furnaces for the mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel fabrication plant being built at Savannah River near Aiken, South Carolina. The second phase of the contract, expected to be awarded within one year, will involve the production, testing and delivery of the sintering systems. AMG expects the total value of the two contracts to be over $30 million.

Shaw Areva MOX Services is a joint venture between construction group Shaw (70%) and Areva (30%). The Savannah River plant design is to be based on Areva's reprocessing plant at La Hague and its Melox MOX fabrication plant. Similar facilities based on Areva designs are nearing completion at Rokkasho in Japan.
The Savannah River facility will accept 34 tonnes of 'surplus' weapons plutonium from US stockpiles. Former plutonium weapons components will be taken apart and purified before being converted to plutonium oxide powder and mixed with uranium oxide. The resulting mixed-oxide (MOX) nuclear fuel will be manufactured into pellets and assemblies suitable for use in light-water reactors.

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