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Public Testifies At Final Areva Hearing

Areva is one step closer to beginning its $3 billion project in eastern Idaho.

Both those who support and oppose Areva’s proposed Eagle Rock Uranium Enrichment Plant gathered Monday night to discuss the impact the project would have on the community.

This was the last public hearing before Areva can get the permit to begin its project, a project that’s more than three years in the making.

Supporters of the facility said they are excited not just for the jobs and money it will bring to the area, but the increase in energy choices around the country.

Monday night’s biggest argument against the project came from environmental groups such as the Snake Rive Alliance.

Some argued the plant is not necessary due to the falling global demand for nuclear energy in the wake of the recent Japanese nuclear disaster.

“Areva cannot have it both ways,? Snake River Alliance Director Liz Woodruff said. ?They cannot argue the facility is needed for current or future demands.”

But president and CEO of Areva enrichment services, Sam Shakir ensures the public this facility is completely safe.

“The European plants have been in operation for three decades so this facility has not only proven to function over many years, we aren’t bringing anything that hasn’t been tested before,? Shakir said.

If the commission approves Areva’s license to build, the plant’s construction phase is expected to create about a 1,000 jobs.

When completed, the plant could employ as many as 500 workers.

Shakir said he is hopeful they will receive the go-ahead before the end of the year.

Tuesday the licensing board will continue its hearing by discussing environmental matters to determine whether the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s environmental review was adequate enough to give Areva the OK to build.

That meeting is also open to the public at 9:30 Tuesday morning at the Idaho Falls Red Lion Hotel.

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