WASHINGTON, D.C.—URENCO USA/LES announced the inauguration of its new uranium enrichment facility on Wednesday in Eunice, N.M. The facility is expected to begin commercial operations in the near future upon receiving final approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Following is a statement from Marvin Fertel, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s president and chief executive officer.
“NEI congratulates URENCO/LES on the completion of this important energy project. It stands as a seminal moment in the expansion of the domestic nuclear fuel market. This project is noteworthy for its status as a success story in nuclear facility licensing, for its considerable economic impact in the region, for its exemplary interactions with state and community leaders, and for its role in increasing domestic sources of uranium enrichment services. As the first application to gain approval under the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s combined construction and operating license review, the URENCO/LES experience will provide immense benefit to new reactor projects that proceed through the combined operating license process.
“Competition fosters maximum efficiency and cost mitigation, and the new URENCO/LES plant and fuel facilities to follow ensure that America will have a strong supply line of uranium fuel services that should allow the nuclear industry to maintain its low electricity costs. Today, nuclear energy plants, on average, have the lowest production cost of all baseload electricity sources.
“We expect to have four to eight new nuclear power plants operating in the United States by the end of this decade. By that point, many more existing reactors will have received 20-year license extensions above and beyond the 59 reactors for which the NRC has approved license renewals over the past decade. This growth dynamic makes it essential to have diversified and plentiful supplies of the products and services necessary for our expanding industry to properly support the nation’s economic growth and enhance U.S. energy security. The URENCO/LES project sets us well on our way to achieving that goal.”