Plans by the new company, Nuclear Fuel Australia Limited, which is headed by Clarence Hardy, envisage a 3 million separative work unit (SWU) per year plant using Urenco 6th-generation centrifuge technology. Hardy told World Nuclear News that Urenco's National Enrichment Facility (NEF) under construction in New Mexico, USA, made a "very good reference model" for the potential future plant.
Valued at around A$2.5 billion ($2.1 billion), the project could see a A$2.0 billion enrichment plant and a A$500 million conversion plant, which would transform uranium oxide into the uranium hexafluoride (UF6) feed required for gas centrifuge enrichment. Construction is envisaged in the report as starting in 2010 with full capacity being reached in 2015.
Hardy emphasized that NFAL as a company was solely concerned with the feasibility study, and had made no agreements with Urenco or any domestic uranium producer. He said the NFAL preliminary study does not discuss potential sites for the plants.
Considering the size and scope of the facility being considered... I'd say this is but another example of high end employment opportunities involved within the nuclear fuel cycle.
As one would expect. Kevin Rudd is denigrating this announcement and those behind it. At his side, I am not surprised to see Queensland Premier Peter Beattie. Between the two of them - you will hear the same tired anti-nuclear political rhetoric as I've already posted way too many times in this blog. Digging up the waste discussions while Australia's numerous coal plants continue to indiscriminately spew toxic, climate killing wastes into the air we all fill our lungs with - on average - 13 times a minute.
But the article linked just above also gives some airtime to Dr. Bruce Flegg, Member for Moggill. Dr. Felgg is accusing Peter Beattie of generating hysteria for purely political gains.
"I'm not sure Australians are so simple as Mr Beattie and others would like to portray them," Dr Flegg said.
"Why not at least look at whether this could be a future valuable industry for Queensland?"
Dr Flegg accused the premier of "selling short the future of the state". "We want to look at the science of it and make sure that if uranium enrichment were to be contemplated for Queensland that it can be delivered safely."
"Uranium enrichment is not an activity that should be tolerated in any of the residential or urban areas in the state of Queensland," Dr Flegg said.
I'd say Dr. Flegg is right. Especially when Mr. Beattie speaks of 'other options to address climate change' while his fingers quietly stroke the pen that approved new fossil fueled facilities like this one to be located near Braemar, Queensland.