Anne Lauvergeon, McMurphy and Areva's triple play in the United States

Areva, the French engineering and nuclear technology group, harvested a total $11.8 billion worth of contracts this spring in the United States thanks to 3 major deals awarded by the Department of Energy.

MOX plant in South Carolina

A joint venture between French nuclear engineering titan Areva and Shaw Group Inc. has won a $2.7 billion contract with the U.S. Department of Energy to build a mixed oxide nuclear fuel plant (MOX) at the Savannah River Site, located in Aiken, South Carolina.

The joint venture, Shaw Areva Mox Services LLC, is owned 70 percent by Shaw, a U.S. construction and engineering firm, and 30 percent by Areva.

The plant will purify surplus weapon-grade plutonium and mix it with uranium oxide to form MOX fuel pellets for use as fuel in commercial nuclear power reactors, Areva said. The design of the 600,000-square-foot facility is based on Areva's La Hague and Melox fuel treatment facilities in Normandy, France.

Work on the plant began in August, 2007 and is continuing on schedule, Areva said, without specifying a target completion date. This would become only the fourth operating MOX facility in the world (one in France, one in Belgium and one in England).


The French-owned energy services company will also build a $2 billion uranium enrichment plant near the eastern Idaho city of Idaho Falls, after winning tax concessions from the state Legislature.

The plant will be built near the Idaho National Laboratory, where scientists have done research into nuclear energy since the 1940s, the company announced on its website.

Areva plans to build the plant by 2014. But before the plant is built, Areva still must get approval from local, state and national agencies, including a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to construct and operate the facility.

Areva selected Idaho over sites in Washington state, Ohio, Texas and New Mexico.

"While we had several attractive sites to choose from, we opted for Idaho Falls, which has strong ties to nuclear energy, and which welcomed Areva and its proposed enrichment facility to become a new member of its community," said McMurphy, Areva NC's CEO.

Areva NC, headquartered in Bethesda, Md., is a subsidiary of France's Areva Group. Areva also is building a similar, larger uranium enrichment plant in Pierrelatte, Southern France.

Hanford site, Washington

Last but not least, Anne Lauvergeon declared on the company's website in early June that the Department of Energy has awarded a contract to Washington River Protection Solutions of which Areva Federal Services is the dedicated subcontractor, to manage the remediation of DOE's radioactive and hazardous underground waste tanks located at the Hanford site, Washington.

The five-year based contract with another five year option is estimated at $7.1 billion. The contract includes operations and construction activities needed to store, retrieve and treat tank waste and start closure of the tank farms to protect the Columbia River.

Almost 53 million gallons of highly radioactive and chemically hazardous waste is stored in over 170 underground tanks at Hanford, which is said to be the most polluted site in America after decades of exploitation and loose storage.

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