Interest is growing for the development of recycling in the United States, AREVA Inc. CEO Jacques Besnainou told a roomful of reporters yesterday at a breakfast sponsored by the Energy Daily in Washington, D.C. Besnainou said that talks with U.S. utilities have “accelerated” during the past few months regarding the possibility of developing a U.S. recycling plant, as mentioned in an Energy Daily article.
As a similar account by Reuters noted, Besnainou said he is hopeful that AREVA can begin planning development of a recycling facility as early as 2015. The article added that:
Besnainou said a recycling center would be preferable to developing interim storage sites, such as those being considered by the Obama administration’s Blue Ribbon commission on nuclear waste.
“When you do a recycling center, you’re being part of the solution. You’re taking care of the fuel, you’re making the fuel less dangerous,” Besnainou said. “Interim storage is kicking the can down the road.”
Draft recommendations from the Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future, formed to address America’s nuclear waste management strategy, have called for one or more interim storage facilities where used fuel could be stored safely for decades. While AREVA supports the commission’s draft recommendations in general, Besnainou noted that developing recycling as part of a comprehensive approach represents a better long-term solution.
He added that AREVA also is very supportive of the panel’s recommendation to create a Federal Corporation (Fed Corp), similar to the Tennessee Valley Authority, to implement America’s used nuclear fuel strategy.
Besnainou concluded that building a recycling facility would enable the United States to safely delay the opening of a permanent repository for at least 50 years. The administration decided to stop funding the Yucca Mountain repository project in 2009. A Bloomberg article noted that AREVA already recycles used fuel for customers in Europe. It added:
The U.S. [recycling] facility, which may be operating by 2025, would create thousands of jobs in the community where it is built, Besnainou said.
Host communities would be more supportive of an interim storage facility if it were accompanied by a “pilot” recycling plant, Besnainou said. As reported in a Dow Jones article, he added that “communities would compete to host a recycling operation because it would mean more jobs and investment than a fuel storage facility.”
AREVA last month issued a comprehensive white paper detailing the company’s vision for developing recycling in the United States and the benefits of this technology.