Friday, May 09, 2008

Uranium enrichment plant may revitalize the industry

The French company Areva will build a $2 billion uranium enrichment plant near Idaho Falls, Idaho, to produce fuel for nuclear power plants. Some believe it could play a major role in revitalizing the nuclear power industry in the U.S. That would likely encourage more development of uranium resources from domestic sources, including Arizona. [right: Australian Uranium Association]

According to the Idaho Statesman, there is only one enrichment plant in the U.S. now and it is aging. One is under construction in New Mexico and another planned in Ohio.

The Idaho plant is projected to gain 25% of the U.S. market within a decade. Operations could begin by 2014. The plant will use centrifuge technology, which Avera says uses 50 times less electricity than the gaseous diffusion process which has been the common practice.

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