Monday, June 4, 2012

International Isotopes clears major hurdle for New Mexico project

Steve Laflin, President of International Isotopes
International Isotopes Inc. of Idaho Falls has gotten approval from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for the $125 million plant it is planning to build in New Mexico to handle depleted uranium and fluorine extraction.

The commission has published the final safety evaluation report, online and in the Federal Register. Approval represents a major milestone in the licensing process for the plant, near Hobbs, N.M., said Steve Laflin, the company's president and CEO. Only the final environmental impact statement remains to be completed before the company receives its combined 40-year construction and operating licenses. This is expected to be around September.

The company is taking job applications and proposals, which can be sent to IIFP@intisoid.com.

International Isotopes submitted its license application in December 2009. The report documents the commission's evaluation of safety and what could go wrong for workers and the public under both normal operations and accident conditions. The NRC also considered the management organization, administrative programs and financial qualifications provided by the company to ensure safe design and operation of the facility.

Last year the company applied for a $97 million loan from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Renewable-Energy Technology Development program, which evaluates whether a technology might reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "Our patented fluorine extraction process uses seven times less energy than conventional industrial processes for making hydrofluoric acid," Laflin told blogger Dan Yurman of Idaho Samizdat: Nuke Notes. "This means we can show reductions of six million pounds of carbon dioxide a year over the life of the plant"