Inauguration of Urenco’s US enrichment plant

3 June 2010

Urenco has announced the inauguration of its National Enrichment Facility (NEF) in Eunice, New Mexico. Nuclear Regulatory Commission approval for the enrichment plant to start commercial operation is expected soon.

Aerial view of Urenco's US enrichment facility as of May 2010

The NEF will provide safe, cost effective and reliable uranium enrichment services to the US civil nuclear industry, Urenco said in a statement on 2 June. When fully operational, the facility is expected to produce 5700 tSW/year, or enough enriched uranium for fuel to supply approximately 10% of the electricity needs in the USA.

The National Enrichment Facility is operated by Urenco USA/LES, a US subsidiary of Urenco Ltd.

Commenting on the announcement, Helmut Engelbrecht, chief executive of the Urenco Group said, "We are delighted to inaugurate our fourth enrichment facility which will enable us to provide both US and international customers with a US based supply of nuclear fuel services."

Urenco, which currently operates enrichment plants in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, says it has a 25% share of the global enrichment market. Areva and Usec have similar market penetration, while Russia’s Atomenergoprom has a larger market share of above 30%, according to a November 2008 OECD report: “Market Competition in the Nuclear Industry.”

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