LES Planning First Centrifuge Test

EUNICE, N.M. (AP) - A $3 billion uranium enrichment facility under construction in southeastern New Mexico is planning the first tests of its centrifuge enrichment process later this month.

Louisiana Energy Services president Reinhard Hinterreither said an initial shipment of 20 kilograms of uranium hexafluoride should be shipped to the facility this month for the live test.

The centrifuges are expected to be running by the end of the year. The machines will produce fuel for the nuclear power industry. About 800 construction workers remain at the site, down from 1,600 during peak construction last summer.

However, LES spokeswoman Brenda Brooks said the facility is above its projected employee numbers and still hiring.