Washington, DC - The French-based AREVA company has notified Idaho's Congressional Delegation and Governor Butch Otter that it has selected Bonneville County, Idaho, as the site of its $2 billion first U.S. uranium enrichment plant.
"AREVA has the technology and the experience, and eastern Idaho has the workforce, the infrastructure, the commitment to advancing nuclear technology and the critical understanding of this industry. It's a great match that will result in secure jobs and a stronger economy," Governor Otter said. "This highlights the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory's importance to our entire state, and it shows what a great investment it was to provide state funding for the Center for Advanced Energy Studies at the INL. We now have public and private resources, industry and academics working together to bring about this new opportunity. I'm grateful to the people of Bonneville County and to all those who helped make this announcement possible."
"This is phenomenal news for Idaho's energy economy - for jobs and prestige - and for attracting more clean energy initiatives to Idaho, and I was honored to hear personally from Madame Lauvergeon, AREVA's CEO, of her decision to site AREVA's first U.S. uranium enrichment plant in Bonneville County," Senator Craig said. "Last June, when AREVA first expressed an interest in Idaho and asked for my help in finding a suitable site, my staff began a concerted effort to utilize all of Idaho's resources to not just meet AREVA's technical requirements, but also to demonstrate our unprecedented experience and business support for clean nuclear power . Working with the Governor's Office and key State Legislators, we were able to find the right location and create the right business environment for what will be the largest commercial energy project in Idaho's history."
"AREVA is a natural fit for Idaho because both are world leaders in nuclear research and technology." Senator Crapo said. "Today's announcement is a credit to the Idaho National Laboratory personnel whose proven record of hard work, dedication and skill opened the door to landing this facility. Educating the world about the expertise, opportunities and business-friendly atmosphere we have in Idaho is also a big part of this announcement and I credit Grow Idaho Falls for its strong efforts leading to AREVA's selection of Idaho. Clean energy like nuclear power is essential as a part of our nation's energy portfolio. AREVA's record of safety in France is further evidence of this safe, clean energy source that we need to add to our energy options."
"In a weakening economy, we should openly welcome this investment of $2 billion in our state's economy and the creation of hundreds of very good jobs," said Congressman Simpson. "There is a strong, and growing, domestic and international market for the fuel AREVA will create in Idaho which means these jobs will be a stable addition to our economy for decades. AREVA is a good company, with a strong safety record, and a long history of doing similar work in France - one of the most environmentally conscious countries on earth. Put simply, this is outstanding news and I am grateful to the strong group of Idahoans who have worked so hard to make this project a reality."
AREVA is one of the leading global suppliers of enriched uranium for use in commercial nuclear reactors. The enrichment plant that will be built in Bonneville County will be the same design as AREVA's George Besse II enrichment plant that is currently under construction in France, and the same as the Urenco LES enrichment plant currently under construction in eastern New Mexico. AREVA's U.S. enrichment plant will employ more than 250 full-time staff to process natural uranium for use in domestic commercial nuclear power plants. During the plant construction phase, which will last for several years, more than 1,000 workers will be employed.
The company will now begin licensing the plant through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) so that plant construction can begin by 2011. AREVA plans to have the plant operational by 2014.
Craig credited passage of the 2005 Energy Policy Act (EPACT) with leading a revival in nuclear power, and he said the construction of domestic uranium enrichment capability will ensure a supply of fuel for the current U.S. reactor fleet and hopefully many new reactors in the future.
In addition to Idaho, four other States were under consideration for the AREVA plant: Washington, Ohio, Texas and New Mexico.