AREVA Awarded DOE Loan Guarantee for Idaho Enrichment Facility
ACTIVITIES / FRONT-END
May 21, 2010
The U.S. Department of Energy has offered a conditional commitment for a $2 billion loan guarantee to AREVA to facilitate financing of its Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility planned for development near Idaho Falls, Idaho. The conditional commitment was offered through DOE’s Loan Programs Office.
Construction of this facility is critical to protecting U.S. energy security by increasing domestic uranium enrichment, a key step in producing electricity from CO2-free nuclear energy. The Eagle Rock plant will use advanced centrifuge technology that has significant efficiency advantages over previous generation technologies.
The project also has enormous economic benefits, creating 4,800 direct and indirect jobs through the life of the project and spurring billions of dollars of investment in the regional economy.
"AREVA is elated by this decision which will enable us to continue development of our Eagle Rock facility in Idaho and contribute to rebuilding America’s energy infrastructure so we can produce more CO2-free electricity," said Jacques Besna-inou, CEO of AREVA North America. "AREVA has considerable experience building and operating enrichment facilities and is putting that experience to work with the Eagle Rock project."
"We appreciate the seriousness and diligence with which the Loan Programs Office analyzed our Eagle Rock project as well as its support in helping make this significant investment in our energy infrastructure a reality," Besnainou added.
DOE loan guarantees are not grants but provide a federal backstop that enables companies to invest in clean energy projects, including smart grids, renewable and nuclear energy projects. DOE staff conducted a rigorous and exhaustive review of AREVA’s application, confirming the project’s creditworthiness and ensuring that AREVA’s proposal met the highest standards for innovative yet proven technology.
The project must satisfy certain conditions before the loan guarantee can be issued, including the receipt of all appropriate licenses and permits. AREVA submitted a license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in December 2008 to build the Eagle Rock plant at a site 18 miles west of Idaho Falls. If approved, construction on the 3.3 million SWU (separative work unit) facility could begin in 2011 and operations as early as 2014.