EUNICE, New Mexico — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has authorized the startup of a $3 billion uranium enrichment plant, the first major nuclear facility to be licensed in the United States in the past three decades.
NRC officials said in a news release Thursday they are satisfied the facility can begin operations.
The Louisiana Energy Services facility in New Mexico will use an enrichment process that employs centrifuges to separate uranium isotopes. The enriched uranium will supply fuel for nuclear power plants in the United States and overseas.
LES president and chief executive Gregory Smith calls the NRC approval "a turning point" for the US nuclear industry. The technology used at the New Mexico plant has been in place in Europe for more than 30 years.