ALBUQUERQUE — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued its first license for a major commercial nuclear facility in 30 years, allowing an international consortium to build what will be the nation’s first private fuel source for commercial nuclear power plants.
Construction of the $1.5 billion National Enrichment Facility, under review for the past 2 1/2 years, could begin in August, and the plant could be ready to sell enriched uranium by early 2009, said James Ferland, president of the consortium of nuclear companies, Louisiana Energy Services.
This is laughable:
Although the state was largely excluded for the licensing process, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D), a former energy secretary, said he expects that New Mexicans and their environment will be protected by an agreement state officials had reached with Louisiana Energy Services.
This is lamentable:
Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.), a longtime supporter of nuclear power, said the license is important not only for Louisiana Energy Services but also "for what this facility will mean for the renaissance of nuclear energy in this country."
And this is criminal:
The plant will generate a form of waste that no U.S. disposal site can handle, and no U.S. processing facility exists that can convert the waste into lower-level radioactive material. The plant could run at full capacity for eight to 10 years before running out of on-site space for the material. Louisiana Energy has an agreement with a French company to build such a plant in the United States, but no site has been selected and no license has been issued.