On Friday, 23 June, the US NRC sent a draft license to Louisiana Energy Services, a consortium that includes URENCO, Entergy, Exelon, and Duke Power, for their proposed National Enrichment Facility to be sited in Eunice, New Mexico.
The NRC, by rule, has approximately 10 days to issue the final license. The facility will use the gas centrifuge technology that URENCO, which itself is a consortium that includes a number of European countries and companies, has been using in its Dutch facility to produce low enriched uranium for more than thirty years. The company also has production facilities in Germany and the UK.
The proposed National Enrichment Facility has a 17-year history that includes a stymied attempt to build a facility in Louisiana, which explains why the company building the facility in New Mexico is called Louisiana Energy Services (LES). That proposed project ran afoul of organized opposition that claimed, among other things, that the site selection process was an example of environmental racism, since the facility was proposed for an area lacking in economic development that had a substantial minority population.
According to an article in MyWestTexas.com titled NRC issues draft license to uranium enrichment facility the Andrews, Texas area is looking forward to the prospects of building a new, state of the art nuclear facility that will employ a peak of 1200 construction workers and an operating work force of several hundred skilled technicians, engineers and managers.
(Note – post edited on July 10 to remove a photo that was causing problems with the blog sidebar for visitors using IE.)