Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Whither Areva?

The on-again, off-again Eagle Rock uranium enrichment plant planned for Bonneville County Idaho appears to be on again, though construction again will be delayed.

The Post Register (via the Idaho Statesman here) reports today that Areva is still committed to the $3 billion plant, though construction may not begin until 2013 or 2014, depending on whether or not the company can find other interested investors and whether or not the world economy continues to fester in the crapper it’s been in since 2008.

Says the paper:
Areva already owns the land for the plant west of Idaho Falls and invested resources in planning and development. At one time, the company had hoped to begin construction this year to meet an opening date of 2014. The project, expected to create several thousand construction jobs and 700 permanent positions once operational, was viewed as a future driver of the eastern Idaho economy and a key component in Areva's plans to expand production of nuclear fuel for commercial power production in the United States.
This news is contrary to speculation by Dan Yurman over at Idaho Samizdat, who speculated that Areva’s investment in a uranium plant in New Mexico spelled doom for Eagle Rock. The newspapers report that isn’t the case.

I certainly hope Areva’s commitment to Eagle Rock is more than a paper commitment. The plant could be a significant economic driver in the Idaho Falls area and help absorb some of the folks laid off from the Idaho National Laboratory. The plant’s presence in the area could also act as a magnet for further energy development, as is the plant currently underway in Hobbs, New Mexico. Areva had also planned to ask some of its partners to co-locate in Bonneville County, per Yurman, further adding to the economic draw.

Can’t wait to see what Mr. Snrub says about this.

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