The license for the Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility allows the French-owned AREVA to enrich uranium up to 5 percent by weight in the fissile isotope U-235 for use in the manufacture of nuclear fuel for commercial nuclear power reactors.
According to a company statement, construction is projected to begin in 2012. AREVA is expected to hold a public meeting in Idaho Falls before construction begins.
"There is not, never has been, and never will be a need for this dangerous uranium enrichment factory," said Liza Woodruff, executive director of the Snake River Alliance. "There is ample supply of enriched uranium worldwide today and the government has seriously miscalculated the need for more of it at a time when demand continues to plummet as reactor orders are canceled."
In a statement late today, Woodruff said the license was "one step in a very long process. We won't know for a while whether this facility can be built or not."