8:30 AM 5/6/08 The Associated Press reports, with quotes from Areva executives, that the company has chosen a site 18 miles west of Idaho Falls, ID, for a $2 billion uranium enrichment plant. Economic development officials in Idaho confirmed to me in phone calls earlier this morning they have a press release which the firm also gave to the AP office in Boise.
10:00 AM Photo Info -- Michael McMurphy, CEO and president of Areva Inc., talked about the company's intention to build a $2 billion uranium enrichment plant in Bonneville County. He was flanked by Sen. Majority Leader Bart Davis, left; Sam Shakir, Areva general manager; and Sen. Larry Craig, right, at a press conference to make the announcement. Photo: Idaho Statesman
Update 1:00 PM: See full text of press release below from Grow Idaho Falls. A link to and text of Areva's press release are also included below. Here are highlights from the AP report. See also coverage in the Idaho Statesman by Rocky Barker.
Areva plans to build $2 billion uranium plant in Idaho
By JOHN MILLER
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER
BOISE, Idaho -- French-owned energy services company Areva Inc. will build what it's said will be a $2 billion uranium enrichment facility near the eastern Idaho city of Idaho Falls, after winning tax concessions from the state Legislature meant to lure the plant to the region.
The plant will be built on a site near the Idaho National Laboratory, where scientists have done research into nuclear energy since the 1940s, the company said Tuesday.
A late-session push in the Idaho Legislature to extend a sales tax exemption for production equipment that handles nuclear fuel and to cap property tax valuations at the plant to $400 million helped convince the company to select Idaho.
Areva plans to add this new U.S. plant by 2014 to help compensate for a U.S. nuclear fuel supply that could shrink. A program in which Russia has been converting weapons-grade uranium to low-enriched uranium and selling it to an Areva rival expires in 2013.
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Before the plant is built, Areva still must get approval from local, state and national agencies, including a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to construct and operate the facility.
Areva press release
IDAHO FALLS, May 6, 2008 – AREVA Inc. announced today that it has selected the state of Idaho for its new U.S. uranium enrichment facility. The site is located in Bonneville County, 18 miles west of Idaho Falls, close to the Idaho National Laboratory site.
The selection was made after an extensive technical, environmental, and socio-economical analysis of several potential sites throughout the United States. With its decision, AREVA will move forward to seek all necessary approvals from federal, state and local agencies, including a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to construct and operate the facility.
“The United States needs more clean energy to support its economic growth. To enable us to meet those needs we have to expand our domestic nuclear infrastructure, secure our supply of enrichment services, and reduce our reliance on foreign imports. This new enrichment plant is a critical part of this process,” said Michael McMurphy, President of AREVA Inc.
He added, “While we had several attractive sites to choose from, we opted for Idaho Falls, which has strong ties to nuclear energy, and which welcomed AREVA and its proposed enrichment facility to become a new member of its community. We look forward to a productive and long-term partnership that will deliver diversity and strength to the regional economy.”
The new state-of-the-art facility represents a multi-billion dollar investment that would create hundreds of high-skilled jobs during the construction and operation phases. The Idaho Falls plant will provide enrichment services to U.S. nuclear plant operators using advanced proven centrifuge technology developed by the Enrichment Technology Company, Ltd. (ETC), an AREVA subsidiary, and world leader in enrichment services technology.
This centrifuge technology has been successfully deployed in Europe for more than thirty years, using 50 times less electricity than the gaseous diffusion process. AREVA is a major supplier of enrichment services. It owns and operates the Georges Besse enrichment plant in France, which has safely operated for nearly three decades. AREVA is currently constructing a new gas centrifuge enrichment facility in France – Georges Besse II – which is expected to become operational in 2009.
To find out more, explore AREVA’s Uranium Enrichment Web site at: www.us.areva-nc.com
Press release from Grow Idaho Falls
Grow Idaho Falls
151 N. Ridge, Ste. 130 Idaho Falls, ID 83402
May 7, 2008
Contact: Linda Martin, CEcD, Executive Director
208-522-2014; 208-206-5947 cell
AREVA Chooses Idaho Falls
Areva Inc. announced today it will build a $2 billion uranium enrichment plant near Idaho Falls. Areva selected the site near the Idaho National Laboratory over potential sites in five states.
Michael McMurphy, President of Areva Inc. said, “While we had several attractive sites to choose from, we opted for Idaho Falls, which has strong ties to nuclear energy, and which welcomed AREVA and its proposed enrichment facility to become a new member of its community. We look forward to a productive and long-term partnership that will deliver diversity and strength to the regional economy.”
It will take two to three years to design the plant and receive state and federal approvals. Construction is expected to take three to five years and involve as many as 1,000 workers. Once operational, the plant is expected to employ up to 300 people.
“Areva has the technology and the experience, and eastern Idaho has the workforce, the infrastructure, the commitment to advancing nuclear technology and the critical understanding of this industry. It’s a great match that will result in secure jobs and a stronger economy,” Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter said.
“This highlights the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory’s importance to our entire state, and it shows what a great investment it was to provide state funding for the Center for Advanced Energy Studies at the INL. We now have public and private resources, industry and academics working together to bring about this new opportunity. I’m grateful to the people of Bonneville County, to the local officials, to Grow Idaho Falls, and to all those who helped make this announcement possible.”
The state Department of Commerce and Grow Idaho Falls, Inc. worked together to satisfy the 39 physical and economic criteria in a state to state comparison. Grow Idaho Falls Inc., the Greater Idaho Falls Chamber of Commerce, the Partnership for Science & Technology, the City of Idaho Falls, and the Regional Development Alliance began drafting legislation to accommodate the gaps in the tax structure.
“We were able to show that bringing this type of large, taxpaying, for-profit business to Idaho would benefit the whole state, particularly in light of recent declining state revenues,” said Linda Martin, Executive Director of Grow Idaho Falls Inc. Tim Solomon with the Regional Development Alliance estimated the overall economic impact to the region would be approximately $5.1 billion.
“I am very excited that Areva has chosen to do business in our community. What this tells me is that Idaho must be doing something right to attract a company of this magnitude. It also tells me if Areva wants to invest in our state, there will be others to follow, and that would be a very exciting prospect. We could not have done this without the help from many individuals throughout our community, the state, and our Congressional leadership. We look forward to a long-lasting partnership with Areva,” said Mayor Jared Fuhriman of Idaho Falls.
The Idaho Legislature passed two bills during the 2008 session designed to make Idaho competitive with other states by offering tax incentives. Local government and economic development officials have been working with Areva for nearly a year in the effort to bring the plant to eastern Idaho.
The Idaho Falls groups worked with a number of regional and local legislators, including Chairman Dennis Lake (R-Blackfoot), Chairman Brent Hill (R-Rexburg), and Majority Leader Sen. Bart Davis (R-Idaho Falls). Gov. Otter, Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID), Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), and Cong. Mike Simpson (R-2 ID) made personal supportive calls during the deliberations, in the US and France. The local delegation gained support from across the state, especially from House Majority Leader Rep. Mike Moyle (R-Star), Rep. Jim Clark (R-Hayden Lake) and Rep. Dean Mortimer (R-Idaho Falls) on the House floor, and Sen. Curt McKenzie (R-Boise) on the Senate floor.
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