As we reported yesterday, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter says plans for Areva’s Idaho uranium enrichment facility are moving forward.
But the CEO of the French energy company announced Tuesday its uranium enrichment plant near Idaho Falls is on hold.
“The assurances that I got from the folks over there when I called them, said that’s not the case, that the headline is totally misleading,” Otter says. “The enrichment project is going forward…in fact it’s fully funded through 2012.”
Here’s Governor Otter’s reaction:
The Associated Press reports the vice president of communications for Areva North America, Laurence Pernot, said the announcement should not be interpreted as a decision to abandon future plans in Idaho.
“With a growing market in the United States … this remains a very solid and robust project and we stay committed to it,” Pernot said. “This may impact the construction schedule. But we will continue to work this year on design and pre-construction activities.”
The company has already bought the land and invested significant resources in hopes of beginning construction in early 2012 and to be up and running by 2014. Company officials and economists projected the construction would create several thousand jobs, 700 permanent jobs during operation and join the Idaho National Laboratory as one of the primary drivers of the eastern Idaho economy.