The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a loan agreement with Urenco. Under the agreement, EIB will lend Urenco Eur200 million ($284 million) for expansion of its UK and Dutch uranium enrichment plants.
The EIB recently reviewed its lending policy for energy-related projects. The agreement with Urenco, signed on 24 September, marks the EIB's first loan agreement with a nuclear-related company since the recent publication of the briefing note Clean Energy for Europe: A Reinforced EIB Contribution. In the document, the bank noted that the European Commission's report entitled An Energy Policy for Europe, published in January, states that it is up to each EU member state to decide whether or not to rely on nuclear energy in order to meet its energy demand while reducing emissions of greenhouses gases. The EIB therefore said that it will now provide loans for the construction of new nuclear power plants, fuel cycle facilities and research activities.
Conditions for obtaining EIB loans for nuclear projects include that the project is notified to the European Commission under the Euratom Treaty and that the EC issue a favourable opinion on the project. Urenco underwent a due diligence process and stringent environmental assessments which were required by the EIB to ensure Urenco's operations met the strict criteria set for such loans.
Urenco will use the loan to increasing uranium enrichment capacity at its gas centrifuge plants in Almelo, the Netherlands, and in Capenhurst, UK. The project involves the installation of new centrifuge cascades in both plants. The total cost of the project, part of the company's medium-term investment program, is put at Eur430 million ($600 million).
Foratom, the European atomic forum, said, "The signing of the loan agreement with Urenco is a strong signal from the European financial community and the EU institutions that nuclear is back on the scene, since EIB had not funded any nuclear infrastructure for more than a decade."
European Investment Bank
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