Washington, DC - Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch and Congressmen Mike Simpson and Walt Minnick today praised a decision by the U.S. Department of Energy to provide federal loan guarantees for construction of the Eagle Rock Uranium Enrichment Plant near Idaho Falls. AREVA officials say the project would create 400 permanent jobs near Idaho Falls, create another 1,000 construction jobs and result in the creation of up to 5,000 jobs in related services.
The Energy Department announced today that AREVA's U.S. subsidiary, AREVA Enrichment Services LLC, will obtain $2 billion in federal loan guarantees to assist in construction of the Idaho project. All four members of the Idaho Delegation have supported the project in letters and phone calls and note that appropriate federal support will lead to the expansion of clean nuclear power. They said the DOE Loan Guarantee Program is among the few policy tools immediately available to deliver market-ready innovative, clean energy technologies that will have economic and environmental impacts.
"This loan guarantee from the Department of Energy is a crucial step in meeting the demand for a reliable, U.S.-based source of enriched uranium to fuel our nuclear power plants," said Risch, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. "It is also a great benefit to our local communities and the state for the positive economic impact the new construction and permanent operation jobs that will come about from this facility."
"Developing new U.S.-based sources of uranium enrichment is critical to the country being able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, achieving energy independence, having a reliable supply for domestic power reactors and protecting our national security," said Crapo. "If we are going to have a chance at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a robust expansion of nuclear power is the only way to do it without tanking the economy. The Eagle Rock plant will be one of Idaho's contributions to this worthy and attainable goal."
"I want to congratulate AREVA and the people of Eastern Idaho who have worked so hard to secure this loan guarantee and bring the Eagle Rock facility to our state," said Simpson, a member of the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee which funds the Department of Energy and the Loan Guarantee program. "Nuclear energy must play a strong role in our nation's energy future and the Eagle Rock facility's contribution to that future will be enormous."
"This project will have impact far beyond Idaho Falls," said Minnick. "Alternative energy solutions such as nuclear power and woody biomass are a crucial part of our work toward an economic recovery. This project will help Idaho businesses and universities do just that, and will help meet our shared goal of Idaho becoming a national leader in the new energy future."