Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Idaho Falls company, partner interested in operating DOE Paducah site

The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant is located three miles south of the Ohio River and 12 miles west of Paducah, Ky. The plant began enriching uranium in 1952, first for the nation's nuclear weapons program, then for nuclear fuel for commercial power plants. Paducah remains the only operating gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment plant in the United States. 
Idaho Falls-based International Isotopes Inc. has teamed up with Advanced Process Technology Systems to tell the U.S. Department of Energy they are interested in operating the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Kentucky.

As a new joint venture, the two companies responded to the DOE's Feb. 7 issuance of a request for an expression of interest. The two companies are proposing to operate a significant portion of the Paducah facilities, utilizing some of the existing inventories of depleted uranium material. The plan would involve retaining 600 to 700 employees for the operation of the plant and supporting facilities. In a press release, they said they believe they would be able to operate the facility for at least five years and maybe more, depending on economic and market conditions.

DOE acceptance and funding will have to be obtained, International Isotopes President and CEO Steve T. Laflin said.

"(There) have been indications that information on the proposal has been disclosed by unknown sources and INIS wishes to make certain that all its investors have access to the same information.  INIS and APTS are both very aware and sensitive to uranium market factors related to this opportunity and are confident those factors can be taken into consideration under the proposed business plan and production scenario for the PGDP," Laflin said.
Pursuing this proposal does not alter the company's plans for the construction and operation of a depleted uranium de-conversion and fluorine extraction processing facility near Hobbs, N.M. "In fact, there is clearly a synergistic relationship between the PGDP opportunity and the plans for that facility," he said.

International Isotopes Inc. manufactures a full range of nuclear medicine calibration and reference standards, high purity fluoride gases, and a variety of cobalt-60 products such as teletherapy sources.  The company also provides radioisotopes and radiochemicals for medical devices, calibration, clinical research, life sciences, and industrial applications and provides a host of analytical, measurement, recycling, and processing services on a contract basis to clients.