Areva moving ahead on construction plans

IDAHO - Officials with the French-owned energy services company Areva NC Inc. plan to submit an environmental impact report on the company's proposed $2 billion uranium enrichment plant in eastern Idaho.

In a meeting with 70 members of the Idaho Falls-based Partnership for Science and Technology, company officials said they will submit the report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in October.

Bob Poyser, Areva's vice president for environmental affairs and sustainable development, said the company has a deal to buy 4,000 acres for the plant and expects to begin enriching uranium by 2014, the Post Register reported. Poyser said the company is looking for office space in nearby Idaho Falls.

The proposed Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility would be built near the Idaho National Laboratory, where scientists have done research on nuclear energy since the 1940s.

Areva NC, based in Bethesda, Md., is a subsidiary of France's Areva Group. Areva also is building a similar, larger uranium enrichment plant in France, which gets 80 percent of its electricity from nuclear reactors.

Five other states had been competing for the project. Idaho was chosen after state lawmakers this year extended a sales tax exemption for production equipment that handles nuclear fuel and capped property tax valuations at $400 million for the proposed plant.

Beatrice Brailsford of the Snake River Alliance, an Idaho-based nuclear watchdog group, said the group questions how nuclear waste from the plant would be stored.

Brailsford recently met with company representatives.

"We always appreciate getting a good deal of information," she said.


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