Idaho Gladly Accepts New Uranium Enrichment Plant

The folks in Idaho, according to a release by the Environment News Service, are apparently tickled pink that the French Company, AREVA, is planning construction of a $2 billion uranium enrichment plant near Idaho Falls, Idaho.  It’s AREVA’s first such facility in the U.S. and it plans to serve the nuclear power industry.

There are no nuclear power stations in Idaho, but it does host the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory in Idaho Falls.  According to its website, the INL is an applied engineering national laboratory, “dedicated to supporting the U.S. Department of Energy’s missions in nuclear and energy research, science, and national defense.”

Idaho’s Governor, C.L. “Butch” Otter, is quoted as saying, “It’s a great match that will result in secure jobs and a stronger economy.”  The state actively courted AREVA with tax incentives, and was picked over three other possible locations.

The Idaho Legislature gladly capped the firm’s property tax valuation at $400 million, if, the company spends at least $1 billion on the plant.  AREVA was also exempted from sales taxes on production equipment.

They Said What?

So far, so good, the Environment News Service presented a good article, until I read this paragraph:

Although there are other problems with nuclear power, such as waste disposal and the potential for devastating accidents, it emits no heat-trapping greenhouse gases”.

That’s the kind of “oh well” thinking I’ve been carping about all these months, and here it is again.  The biggie here is, “it emits no heat-trapping greenhouse gases.” That remark was a quote from the text, not from an official of either the state or AREVA.  I am forever amazed at how the “other problems” are minimized, in preference to steam emanating from huge towers.

Up and Operating by 2014

AREVA officials say construction of the plant promises “thousands of jobs”, and when completed and operational, the plant would employ about 250 persons, making an average salary of $70,000 a year.

The U.S. Department of Energy operates one uranium enrichment company in Paducah, Kentucky.  It opened in 1952, and has been enriching uranium for nuclear power reactors since 1960.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says two new uranium enrichment plants are under construction, one in New Mexico and the other in Ohio.

If all goes well, Idaho may someday have its own nuclear power facility.  Nevada-based Alternative Energy Holdings is reportedly planning a 1,600-megawatt reactor in southwestern Idaho.

Not In Anyone’s Back Yard!

Obviously, not everyone is excited about the new facility at Idaho Falls.  The Snake River Alliance , which is based in Idaho, has gone on record opposing the enrichment plant, saying it didn’t matter where it was built, they oppose uranium enrichment wherever it takes place.

Andrea Shipley, Executive Director of the alliance, is quoted as saying:

It is premised on expanding nuclear power, which is an expensive and dirty power source.”

Posts Related to Nuclear Power

McCain’s Plan to Combat Climate Change

Going Nuclear: Live Debate in GO Forums Focuses on Nuclear Power

Does Nuclear Power Compete With Conservation, Wind, Solar and Biomass?

NuScale Power and Hyperion Power Generation – Nuclear Power Systems That Are Not “Extra Large”


2 thoughts on “Idaho Gladly Accepts New Uranium Enrichment Plant”

  1. I came across your site while looking for photos of bikes chained to utility poles… don’t ask… it’s for research on a presentation I’m about to make this Wednesday.

    As an Environmental Science student at the Univ of Idaho, and someone who lives in Idaho Falls, I have much to say about this.

    A year ago I was anti-nuclear, even though I worked at the INL. As a student, I had to find work that allowed me to attend class and still pay my bills. I was ashamed to tell anyone where I worked. Then I was involved in research on bio-fuels. It didn’t take me long to realize crops need land, water, fertilizer, and tractors to grow, harvest, and create fuel for us to burn in our cars. Bio-fuel crops would soon replace acres where our food is currently grown – since farmers grow what is popular (big cash crops) at the moment. There is so much more info I learned, I don’t have the space here to include it all. Bio-fuels are not the answer to our energy crisis. I looked at windmills and solar panels and the old standby, hydro. Coal is dirty and simply replacing one bad habit for another. At the lab, I learn first-hand what is being invented and was amazed at some of the things scientists were working on. I had a chance encounter with a French nuclear scientist and we spent every moment talking about nuclear. France has been using nuclear for (80 percent now) the last 30 years without any ill health effects or weapons getting into the wrong hands. I have used the power of the internet to speak directly to people in France and ask them hard questions. I am completely satisfied and now speak on behalf of nuclear energy. It’s clean, green, and completely safe when handled properly. The U.S. stopped recycling (“reprocessing) efforts in the early 70’s under Jimmy Carter’s administration. We must recycle the waste which reduces the amount from the size of a mountain (Yucca) from 50 years of use, to the size of a dinner plate (YES!) from 70 years of use!!! I just addressed the DOE Public Hearing on the Environmental Impact (EIS) of a Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) program, in favor of Global Nuclear Energy. Windmills cannot sustain our hunger for electricity as we continue to consume with iPods and electric cars – and Solar Panels need nuclear isotopes to gather and store energy produced by the sun. Nuclear medicine also saves countless lives every day. We need to educate ourselves so we can save ourselves and our planet. The first key in being green is REDUCE – cut back on what we consume – but we cannot live by candlelight and walk 800 miles to visit family for Thanksgiving in the snow-covered passes. REUSE is the second key to being green and REUSING or REPROCESSING spent nuclear fuel will go a long way in extending our source of uranium. Email me if you have any questions, as you can see, I love to talk about it! 🙂



  2. I’m not a big nuclear fan myself. I think we have developing sources of energy that can prove to be much better overall. In general, I think it is important for individuals to support businesses, in the energy sector and elsewhere, that benefit the environment. For example, stops your postal junk mail and benefits the environment.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top