The nuclear energy industry has not always been the most popular kid on the block—thanks in part to some gross misinformation that gets passed around. However, a recent piece by Corey Taule in the Idaho Falls Post Register factually addressed some inaccurate claims made by the Snake River Alliance about AREVA’s planned Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility. Taule argues that Alliance claims like “Uranium Enrichment—It’s About the Bomb!” and “Tell Your Neighbors—Uranium Enrichment is ‘an open road to a nuclear weapon,” will not be persuasive because, as Taule points out, “Eastern Idaho is pro-nuclear and educated about the issue.”
He points out that “America’s nuclear plants need enriched uranium to produce power. The concentration of U-235, the fissionable isotope in uranium, need to be increased from .07 percent to between 3 percent and 5 percent for use as a nuclear fuel. That’s where AREVA’s centrifuge process comes in,” and that Eagle Rock will not have the capacity to generate “weapons-grade fuel [that] generally comes in at about 85 percent.”
Answering the Alliance’s claims about depleted uranium disposal, he refers to the fact that “AREVA has said repeatedly it will not store depleted uranium on site. We live here. This is our backyard…So where will it go? Depleted uranium has commercial applications as tank armor and counterweights. As to the leftover, federal law requires the government accept depleted uranium with no commercial value.”
The Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility will have an estimated multi-billon dollar economic impact and create hundreds of jobs. It also will meet 25 percent of the nation’s critical enrichment needs, especially considering “that if the U.S. is serious about reducing carbon emissions, nuclear must become a greater part of the nation’s power portfolio. That means building more nuclear power plants. Some estimate that even after AREVA’s Eagle Rock facility comes online, America will still import 25 percent of its enriched uranium from Russia.”
The whole piece from Sunday October 25, “Watching the Watchdog,” is worth a read.
For more information about the planned Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility, the potential economic impact, U.S. enrichment needs, and AREVA’s commitments to sustainable development, safety and the environment, check here.
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