Eagle Rock application goes in

31 December 2008

An application has been made to build and operate the Eagle Rock uranium enrichment facility that Areva plans for Idaho, USA.

An Areva subsidiary submitted the application for a combined construction and operating licence to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on 30 December.

The company said it hoped to begin construction in 2011 and that the work would create "more than 800 jobs over the seven-year construction phase and more than 300 highly skilled permanent jobs once the plant begins operation."

Eagle Rock is to be a facility for the enrichment of uranium for use as fuel for commercial power reactors. Using centrifuges, it will elevate the concentration of the fissile uranium-235 isotope in uranium hexafluoride gas to about 5% from the natural level of about 0.7%. This is just one step in the production of nuclear fuel from the uranium ore taken from the ground.

There are two other similar facilities already under construction in the USA: USEC's American Centrifuge plant at Piketon, Ohio, and Louisiana Enrichment Services' National Enrichment Facility at Eunice, New Mexico.

In addition, GE-Hitachi is nearing the point of making a decision whether to go ahead with a laser-based enrichment plant at Wilmington, North Carolina.

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