Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Areva US CEO: Investors want assurance that Idaho Falls plant will be finished

Areva US CEO Jacques Besnainou
When it comes to getting information on up-to-date developments in nuclear energy, there is no better resource than Dan Yurman, who used to work at the Idaho National Laboratory and now lives in Ohio.

Here is a link to a report he put up yesterday, an interview with Areva US CEO Jacques Besnainou, on what we might expect now that the French company has suspended construction of its $3 billion Eagle Rock enrichment facility near Idaho Falls.

Key points:
  • Asked what has to change for Areva to move forward with construction, Besnainou said, "Investors will want to know that once Areva starts building the plant that it will finish it." While $2 billion in loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy protects investors for the first two-thirds of the financing needed to build it, the remaining investors do not have the same protection.  A 4 percent contingency for cost overruns would amount to $120 million, which would have to be covered by Areva.
  • There are considerable competitive pressures bearing on Areva's decision. In New Mexico, Urenco's operating enrichment plant already has a license modification from the NRC to double its capacity from 3 million to 6 million SWU/year. It may begin to expand and move up its target date of 2018 for that capacity if it sees Areva isn't going ahead with the Idaho site.

Idaho Samizdat: Nuke Notes: Areva US CEO Jacques Besnainou talks with nuclear ...