Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Areva Gets NRC License

No real surprise here that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission granted Areva the license to build and operate its Eagle Rock uranium enrichment facility – but it’s significant good news for folks worried that current economic conditions and corporate mind-changing would stall or stop Eagle Rock’s construction and operation.

The news release from the NRC may be read here.

The Snake River Alliance is still using the tsunami damage at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant as an argument against the Idaho facility. Read more of their reaction here.

As Idaho looks to strengthen its energy economy and as the nation works towards greater energy independence, this comes as good news. There have been rumblings both locally and internationally that Areva was reconsidering the Eagle Rock plant. Getting the NRC license – though not a guarantee the work will go forward – is certainly an encouraging step forward for the project. Additionally, as an agreement with Russia to convert weapons-grade uranium into low-grade uranium for nuclear power plants expires in 2013 – leaving he US looking for fuel for its existing reactors, let alone any new reactors that come along.

Dan Yurman at Idaho Samizdat maintains – and for what it’s worth I believe him – that Areva isn’t walking away from Eagle Rock any time soon:
This blog asked Areva spokesman Jarret Adams, based on Bethesda, MD, for some answers. Here's what he said,

"It is normal for a new management team to review the company's major planned investments around the world. However, Eagle Rock is but one of many such investments. We do not know why this article chose to focus on this project. From our perspective, the Eagle Rock project is moving forward as planned."

While Areva is a heavily top down organization in terms of its management processes, it is unlikely the U.S. enrichment team would be left in the dark on such a significant decision. This leads me to believe that Adams knows what he's talking about and that the French financial newsletter is trading in gossip.

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