LES to get Uranium for Testing Early Next Year

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) - A southern New Mexico factory that will make fuel for commercial nuclear power plants is expected to have uranium on site by early next year.

Louisiana Energy Services president and chief executive officer Reinhard Hinterreither said Tuesday the National Enrichment Facility will accept 20 kilograms of uranium hexaflouride in early 2009 to test the facility's centrifuges.  He made the announcement to the Rocky Mountain Low-Level Radioactive Waste Board meeting in Hobbs.

The $1.5 million center being built near Eunice is the first in the U.S. to use a high-speed centrifuge system to enrich uranium for power plants.

LES - made up of European-based Urenco, British Nuclear Fuels Unlimited and minor U.S. partners - expects to begin production by late 2009.