"The start of operations at the Portsmouth facility is an important recognition of AREVA's expertise in the construction and operation of safe, efficient nuclear facilities," said Jacques Besnainou, CEO of AREVA North America.

- Edited By Tom Lamar -

AREVA announced today the commencement of operations at a recently completed conversion facility at U.S. Department of Energy's Portsmouth Site in southern Ohio. The Portsmouth conversion plant was constructed by Uranium Disposition Services LLC, a joint venture of AREVA, EnergySolutions and Burns and Roe. The UDS partnership also is building a sister plant at Paducah, Ky., that it expects to complete in the coming months.

The facilities convert depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6), a byproduct of the enrichment process, into uranium oxide, using a proprietary AREVA process. AREVA is a world leader in the design and operations of DUF6 conversion facilities.  AREVA supplied proven process technology based on existing commercial nuclear fuel conversion facilities in Richland, Wash., and Lingen, Germany.

DOE approved operational testing of the Portsmouth facility in May, and initial tests have confirmed successful operation of the AREVA conversion process. The operational testing is expected to continue until November 2010.

"The start of operations at the Portsmouth facility is an important recognition of AREVA's expertise in the construction and operation of safe, efficient nuclear facilities," said Jacques Besnainou, CEO of AREVA North America. "This also is a positive step for the nuclear energy industry, local investment and job creation in southern Ohio."

The Portsmouth facility will covert 13,500 metric tons of DUF6 per year and is expected to operate until 2037. The two plants will convert 700,000 metric tons of DUF6.