Sept. 9, 2002 — After a rigorous site evaluation process, LES (Louisiana Energy Services) has identified the site formerly owned by TVA near Hartsville TN as its preferred location for its $1.1 billion uranium enrichment plant.
The site is now held by the Four Lakes Regional Industrial Development Authority in Hartsville. LES signed a right of first refusal on the property in late August, along with a similar right to property at the Bellefonte nuclear power plant site close to Hollywood, AL. The former TVA sites were the two finalists in LES’s search for an optimal site.
The announcement was made Monday in Nashville by Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist, LES Chairman Dr. Pat Upson, and LES President and CEO George E. Dials. LES is headquartered in Washington, D.C. LES will use the world’s most sophisticated and low-cost centrifuge technology, developed by Urenco, which has operated safely for 25 years in commercial facilities in Europe.
“This will be an essential contribution to U.S. energy security by ensuring a competitive domestic source of enriched uranium for U.S. nuclear facilities,” Dials said at the news conference.
Urenco, Cameco, and Westinghouse are partners in LES along with three major U.S. utilities, Exelon, Duke and Entergy. The utilities represent nearly one-third of the U.S. nuclear capacity.
“LES is comprised of several of the world’s most important energy service providers,” Gov. Sundquist said. “We are delighted to welcome them to Tennessee and look forward to the new jobs and economic benefits that their 1.1 billion investment will bring to Hartsville.”
“The Hartsville location came out ahead on our objective scoring system,” LES Chairman Upson said. “We used a decision analysis model to screen or score more than 40 sites throughout the U.S. Both Hartsville and Bellefonte scored very high on the technical criteria. Hartsville scored somewhat higher cumulatively and has some business and environmental benefits.”
Upson and Dials announced that LES will open a local office in Hartsville shortly to respond to residents’ questions.
“Our highest priority is to operate this plant safely, for our employees, the community, and the environment,” said Dials. “This will be the first uranium enrichment plant in the U.S. with state-of-the-art technology, capable of having minimal environmental impact.
“As the energy industry moves into the next decade, it will be particularly important to ensure a secure supply of domestically enriched uranium in the U.S. market. LES is making a substantial commitment to future U.S. energy security.”
LES intends to submit a license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as early as possible during the next six months.