Areva has celebrated the inauguration of the first part of its George Besse II uranium enrichment plant.
The company's CEO, Anne Lauvergeon, spoke with prime minister Francois Fillon during a ceremony at the Tricastin site today. GB-II will be the first centrifuge-base enrichment plant in France, replacing old energy-intense gaseous diffusion facilities. The centrifuges come from a joint venture with Urenco called the Enrichment Technology Company.
George Besse II is said to cost €3 billion. The two wings of the plant should reach total a capacity of up to 7.5 million separative work units per year in 2016, enriching uranium up to a maximum of 6%.
Investors in project company in Société d'Enrichissement du Tricatin (SET), the operator of the future plant, include GdF-Suez (5%), Kansai Electric Power Company (2.5%) and the Japanese trading company Sojitz (2.5%).
Areva plans a similar facility for Eagle Rock, a site near Idaho Falls, USA.