December 30, 2008

Crapo, Simpson Call On NRC To Approve AREVA Facility

Construction of uranium enrichment plant could begin in 2011

Washington, DC - Senator Mike Crapo and Congressman Mike Simpson are urging the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to grant swift approval to AREVA for construction of a uranium enrichment facility near Idaho Falls. The company filed an application today with the NRC for construction of the Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility in Bonneville County. If approved, construction could begin in 2011.

Crapo, co-chair of the Senate Renewables and Energy Efficiency Caucus, said construction of the Idaho facility is critical to the nation's goal of expanding renewable energy sources such as nuclear power. "Now more than ever, it is critical to develop secure, economically-feasible and clean supplies of domestic energy," Crapo wrote in a letter to NRC Project Manager Breeda Reilly. "The Idaho enrichment plant will supply America's existing operating fleet of nuclear power reactors and further augment the anticipated growth of new commercial nuclear power generation here in the U.S.," he noted.

Simpson, a member of the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee that funds our nation's nuclear infrastructure and loan programs, said the project means more good paying jobs for eastern Idaho. "At a time when our nation is experiencing a severe economic downturn, it is encouraging to see this license application, and the good paying jobs it will create, moving forward," said Simpson. "I have visited AREVA's facilities in France and have seen firsthand their commitment to safety, security, and their workers. I look forward to working with AREVA and my constituents in eastern Idaho over the coming months and years to make sure its potential is realized."

"The enrichment technology that AREVA plans to construct and operate in Idaho has been demonstrated in Europe, and the NRC has already licensed an identical enrichment plant here in the United States," Crapo continued. "It is important for the local community to have access to and understand the NRC licensing process," Crapo added in calling on the NRC to quickly establish and make public a license review schedule. "The Eagle Rock Enrichment Plant will only enhance the existing the existing global recognition of Idaho's place as a leader in nuclear technology development. The state's history and success with the Idaho National Laboratory indicates that we can confidently ensure a long-term relationship with a responsible and responsive business partner like AREVA."

According to AREVA, the Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility will use advanced centrifuge technology to create fuel for nuclear energy production. AREVA Inc. is based in Bethesda, Maryland and is the leading U.S. nuclear vendor in energy transmission and distribution with 45 locations across the country and $2 billion in energy revenues during 2007. The facility at Eagle Rock 18 miles west of Idaho Falls could employ more than 200 people.