The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a license to Areva Enrichment Services LLC (AES) to construct and operate a gas centrifuge uranium enrichment plant in Bonneville County, Idaho.

The license for the Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility authorizes AES to enrich uranium up to 5% by weight in the fissile isotope U-235 for use in the manufacture of nuclear fuel for commercial nuclear power reactors.

AES plans to begin Eagle Rock construction in 2012. The plant design will be based on the company’s existing facilities in Europe, using Enrichment Technology Company Limited (ETC) technology (jointly owned by Urenco and Areva).

Eagle Rock will have an annual production capacity of approximately 3.3 million SWU, and there will be the possibility of doubling that capacity if market conditions are favorable, Areva says.

The issuing of the license comes almost three years after AES submitted its application the NRC on 30 December 2008. After through safety and environmental reviews and hearings, the three-judge Atomic Safety and Licensing Board authorized NRC staff to issue the license on 7 October.

FilesReactor-by-reactor Fukushima Daiichi restoration progress summary as of 7 October, from JAIF