Eagle Rock enrichment plant
AREVA has launched a project to build a uranium enrichment plant in the United States, known as the Eagle Rock project. The Eagle Rock plant will use state-of-the-art centrifugation technology, which has been demonstrated operationally. It will be built in Bonneville County near Idaho Falls, Idaho (USA).The project has been placed on hold temporarily because of short-term uncertainties regarding its overall financing
SHOWCASING STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY
The Eagle Rock plant will be based on the same model as the Georges Besse II plant and use the same technology: the centrifugation technology developed by Enrichment Technology Company Limited (ETC), a 50/50 joint venture of AREVA and Urenco. This safe and proven technology has been in use in Europe for more than 30 years. Plant production capacity will be up to 3.5 million SWUs* per year.
This new state-of-the-art plant represents a multi-billion dollar investment that is expected to create hundreds of highly qualified jobs during the construction and operating phases.
* One SWU, or Separative Work Unit, is the unit of measurement used in the industry for enrichment services.
The selection of the Idaho Falls site
The site is located in Bonneville county, around 18 miles west of the town of Idaho Falls, near the Idaho National Laboratory.
This site was selected following a technical, environmental, and socio-economic analysis conducted on various potential sites in the United States.
Out of the many attractive sites, AREVA selected Idaho Falls for its close ties with the nuclear energy sector and its demonstrated willingness to welcome a new member into its community with the construction of the enrichment facility.
ENRICHMENT IN THE UNITED STATES
The United States needs clean energy to sustain its economic growth. To meet this need, the country must expand its nuclear power generating infrastructure and secure the chain of supply to significantly reduce its energy dependency.
Nuclear power plants generate one fifth of the electricity in the United States and need a reliable source of uranium enrichment services for their operation.
Currently, a large percentage of the United States’ enrichment services are imported. The country must therefore develop its own enrichment capacities to secure the supply chain for its power plants and ensure its energy self-reliance.
Acquiring a domestic enrichment capacity is crucial to the country’s energy independence and national security.