WASHINGTON—Louisiana Energy Services has withdrawn its application for a Nuclear Regulatory Commission license to build and operate the Claiborne Enrichment Center, what would have been the nation's first privately owned centrifuge nuclear fuel enrichment plant. The following is a statement by Marvin Fertel, NEI's senior vice president for Nuclear Infrastructure Support & International Programs, in response to the Louisiana Energy Services decision.
"After seven years of waiting for a federal operating license, Louisiana Energy Services can hardly be faulted for deciding that it has been forced to wander in the bureaucratic wilderness long enough. The Nuclear Energy Institute views this turn of events as fresh evidence that the federal government's licensing process for commercial nuclear facilities still is fraught with unreasonable delay.
"The Nuclear Regulatory Commission years ago pledged prompt consideration of the Claiborne Enrichment Center's license application. As recently as last September, the commission promised quick action in reviewing the May 1997 decision issued by the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board. Even then, it took a full seven months for the NRC to reverse one element of the Licensing Board decision—but still other issues were remanded to the board for further consideration and no final decision was reached.
"There is no reason that licensing processes aimed at protecting public health and safety should be incompatible—as they proved to be in the LES case—with the ability of private enterprise to safely meet the needs of the marketplace.
"Nuclear power is a vital part of the nation's energy portfolio. It will continue to play a key role in the nation's energy and environmental future. But the industry will not benefit from licensing processes that lack efficiency, predictability, and any semblance of timeliness. Nor will the families, businesses and industries that rely on the nuclear energy industry for clean electricity."
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry’s policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available on NEI’s Internet site at http://www.nei.org.