The Current Argus.com web site – billed as “Your online information oasis for the Pecos Valley” published a story titled Schedule set for GNEP public scoping meetings.
These public scoping meetings will occur in the 11 geographic areas that are currently conducting studies to determine if they are viable sites for one or both of the facilities eligible for private participation that are proposed to be built as part of the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) program. The two facilities are The Consolidated Fuel Treatment Center (a fuel recycling facility) and The Advanced Burner Reactor (an advanced recycling reactor). Each of the 11 areas have already applied for and received DOE funds to support the studies. (See Department of Energy Selects Recipients of GNEP Siting Grants dated November 29, 2006.)
The third facility proposed for GNEP is a nuclear fuel recycling research center, which will be located on one of the already existing national laboratory sites.
The list of 11 interested applicants for the private participation portion of GNEP indicates that most of the interested areas are near national laboratory sites, so there is the possibility that all three facilities will be geographically co-located. Of course, that decision would make some sense from an industrial point of view, which is why I expect that the three sites will actually end up as far apart as humanly possible. (I am kind of a cynic at times about the ability of government decision processes. Committees often end up charged with design work with predictable, less than optimal results.)
If you happen to be near one of the sites, pay attention to the hearing announcements and attend if at all possible. Let me know if you are able to do so – it would be great to get some first hand feedback about how the process is being handled and how the proposals are being received in the affected communities.