United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment

Louisiana Energy Services (LES) Gas Centrifuge Facility

The Louisiana Energy Services (LES) partnership is currently owned entirely by URENCO.  Exelon, Duke Power, and Entergy were previously partners in LES but dropped out of the partnership following the issuance of the license to construct and operate a uranium enrichment facility. LES uses Enrichment Technology Company's gas centrifuge technology that was developed and is also being used in four enrichment plants in Europe.

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For further information on the Louisiana Energy Services Gas Centrifuge Facility, contact us.

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Regulation and Legislation

In 1990, Congress passed the Solar, Wind, Waste, and Geothermal Power Production Incentives Act. Among other things, this legislation amended the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 to require licensing of uranium enrichment facilities under U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) regulations in 10 CFR Parts 40 and 70. The act also stated that the construction and operation of a uranium enrichment facility is considered a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment for the purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969. Therefore, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) needs to be prepared for this type of facility. Under the legislation, an adjudicatory hearing on the licensing of the construction and operation is required. This hearing must be completed before issuance of a license. The act also requires the applicant to obtain public liability insurance for the facility and requires the NRC to inspect the facility before operations begin to ensure that the plant is constructed to meet the license requirements.

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License Application

On December 12, 2003, LES submitted a license application and environmental report to NRC for a proposed gas centrifuge uranium enrichment plant having a capacity of 3 million SWU/yr. On September 2, 2003, LES announced its site selection as Lea County, New Mexico.

On January 30, 2004, the Commission issued an Order initiating the LES proceeding applicable to its application for a uranium enrichment plant. The Order offered an opportunity for a hearing, ordered the use of the new 10 CFR Part 2 hearing procedures and a 30-month licensing Review Schedule, and addressed several policy issues applicable to uranium enrichment facility licensing.

On April 19, 2004, NRC provided the staff's initial technical review of the license application that identified a need for additional information. LES submitted its response to the Request for Additional Information (RAI) on May 19, 2004. A second RAI was sent to LES on April 29, 2004, concerning the preparation of an EIS for the proposed facility. LES submitted responses to the RAI regarding its environmental review on May 20, 2004, and June 10, 2004.

On October 20, 2004, an RAI on the decommissioning funding plan was sent to LES. LES provided responses on December 10, 2004; January 7, 2005; March 3, 2005; March 29, 2005; and April 8, 2005. The March 29 and April 8 responses contain proprietary information.

On January 28, 2005, an additional RAI on environmental impacts was sent to LES. LES responded to this request on February 11, 2005.

LES is currently licensed to produce 5.7 million SWU/yr.

The following is a list of the current effective revisions to the Safety Analysis Report and Environmental Report:

Safety Analysis Report
Revision 1 February 27, 2004
Revision 2 July 30, 2004
Revision 3 September 30, 2004
Revision 4 April 22, 2005
Revision 5 April 29, 2005
Revision 6 May 25, 2005
Revision 7 June 10, 2005
Revision 8 February 16, 2006
Revision 9 February 28, 2006
Revision 10 March 16, 2006
Revision 11 March 24, 2006
Revision 12 October 23, 2006
Revision 12a April 10, 2007
Revision 13 July 30, 2007
Revision 14 October 12, 2007
Revision 15 November 17, 2007
Revision 16 January 30, 2008
Revision 17 November 19, 2008
Revision 18 January 23, 2009
Revision 19 March 5, 2009
Revision 20 August 21, 2009
Revision 21 September 15, 2009
Revision 22 November 3, 2009
Revision 23 November 25, 2009
Revision 24 January 4, 2010
Revision 25 March 25, 2010
Revision 26 February 05, 2010
Revision 27 March 15, 2010
Revision 29 October 25, 2010
Revision 30 January 16, 2011
Revision 31 October 13, 2011
Revision 32 January 3, 2012
Environmental Report
Revision 1 February 27, 2004
Revision 2 July 30, 2004
Revision 3 September 30, 2004
Revision 4 April 22, 2005
Revision 5 June 10, 2005
Revision 6 March 16, 2006
Revision 7 March 24, 2006
Revision 8 January 29, 2007
Revision 8a April 10, 2007
Revision 9 July 30, 2007
Revision 10 January 30, 2008
Revision 11 October 30, 2008
Revision 12 January 23, 2009
Revision 13 March 5, 2009
Revision 14 September 15, 2009
Revision 15 November 3, 2009
Revision 16 November 25, 2009
Revision 17 February 1, 2010
Revision 18 March 25, 2010
Revision 19 January 16, 2011
Revision 20 January 3, 2012

On June 23, 2006, NRC issued a license to LES to construct and operate a uranium enrichment facility. The license was issued following favorable hearing decisions by the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board.

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Safety Evaluation Report

On December 12, 2003, Louisiana Energy Services submitted an application for a uranium enrichment facility. On June 15, 2005, the NRC staff completed its review of the application and documents the results in the Safety Evaluation Report for the National Enrichment Facility in Lea County, New Mexico, Louisiana Energy Services (NUREG-1827).

The review evaluates the potential adverse impacts of facility operation on worker and public health and safety under both normal operating and accident conditions. The review also considers physical protection of special nuclear material (SNM) and classified matter, material control and accounting of SNM, and the management organization, administrative programs, and financial qualifications provided to ensure safe design and operation of the facility.

The NRC staff concludes, in this Safety Evaluation Report, that the applicant's descriptions, specifications, and analyses provide an adequate basis for safety and safeguards of facility operations and that operation of the facility does not pose an undue risk to worker and public health and safety.

NRC staff issued a Safety Evaluation Report Supplement on criticality safety issues on March 3, 2006. The supplement addressed issues related to the criticality safety validation report. NRC staff concluded that LES had adequately addressed the validation of its computer codes used in evaluating nuclear criticality safety issues.

On April 6, 2006, NRC staff issued a Safety Evaluation Report Supplement on DOE's cost estimate for the disposition of depleted uranium. NRC staff concluded that DOE's cost estimate was reasonable and complied with its regulations.

On May 16, 2006, NRC staff issued a Safety Evaluation Report Supplement on changes in the LES partnership agreement, whereby Urenco, the principle general partner, purchased the shares of Westinghouse Enrichment Company. NRC staff concluded that the change presented adequately described the corporate identity, structure, and financial information required under the regulations; that LES was financially qualified to build and operate the proposed facility; and that LES met the requirements for Foreign Ownership, Control, and Influence.

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Environmental Review

NRC develops, as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), an Environmental Impact Statement for "major Federal actions significantly affecting the quality of the human environment." Licensing a uranium enrichment facility is considered a "major Federal action," requiring an EIS. For more information about NEPA and the environmental review process, see Frequently Asked Questions About NRC's Role under the National Environmental Policy Act.

The NRC staff held a public meeting on the scope of the EIS for the proposed National Enrichment Facility (NEF) to be constructed and operated by LES on March 4, 2004, in Eunice, New Mexico. The public was encouraged to provide comments on the NRC's scoping process.

The NRC issued its draft EIS on September 17, 2004, for public comment. NRC staff held a public meeting on October 14, 2004, in Eunice, New Mexico, to provide an opportunity for the public to comment on the draft EIS. The public comment period closed on January 7, 2005.

On June 15, 2005, the NRC staff issued Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed National Enrichment Facility in Lea County, New Mexico — Final Report (NUREG-1790). In the final EIS, the staff analyzed the environmental impacts from the proposed NEF and determined that such impacts generally would be small to moderate. In preparing the final EIS, the staff addressed nearly 4200 comments on the draft EIS that were received from approximately 400 individuals.

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Public Involvement

Meeting Schedule

For upcoming meetings, see our Public Meeting Schedule. Information for the meetings on this page are available at this Web site or in ADAMS if an accession number is given.

Meeting Archive

Meetings and Other Interactions Between LES and NRC
Meeting Date Subject
09/12/2012

Meeting Summary: Met to discuss security issues at the Louisiana Energy Services (LES) URENCO USA (UUSA) Site

  • Meeting Summary (Not Publicly Available)
08/09/2012

Meeting Summary: Met to discuss potential plant expansion

  • Meeting Summary (Not Publicly Available)
07/10/2012

Meeting Summary: Met to discuss Louisiana Energy Services construction issues

05/17/2012

Meeting Summary: Met to discuss configuration control of Department of Energy (DOE) accredited classified computer networks with DOE and UUSA

  • Meeting Summary (Not Publicly Available)
04/10/2012

Meeting Summary: Met to discuss Louisiana Energy Services Performance Review

04/05/2012

Meeting Summary: Met to discuss potential plant expansion

  • Meeting Summary (Not Publicly Available)
02/21/2012

Meeting Summary: Met to discuss rejection of update to the FNMCP

  • Meeting Summary (Not Publicly Available)
01/19/2012

Meeting Summary: Met to discuss new planned IROFS

  • Meeting Summary (Not Publicly Available)
07/11/2011

Meeting Summary: Meeting to discuss commercial grade dedication issues

04/12/2011

Meeting Summary: Louisiana Energy Services Performance Review

  • Meeting Summary (Not Publicly Available)
03/29/2011

Closed Meeting Notice: Meeting to discuss circumstances related to several potential security violations

  • Meeting Notice (Not Publicly Available)
03/03/2011

Meeting Summary: Louisiana Energy Services Management Meeting

  • Meeting Summary (Not Publicly Available)
07/08/2010

Meeting Notice: Louisiana Energy Services Public Meeting

05/04/2010 Meeting Summary: Louisiana Energy Services Public Meeting
03/16/2010 Meeting Summary: Louisiana Energy Services Management Meeting
03/05/2010 Meeting Summary: Louisiana Energy Services Public Meeting
12/08/2009

Meeting Summary: Louisiana Energy Services Management Meeting

03/16/2009

Meeting Summary: Louisiana Energy Services Management Meeting

10/02/2008

Meeting Summary: License Performance Review

06/27/2008

06/19/08 Meeting Summary:  Louisiana Energy Services Management Meeting

01/02/2008

12/17/07 LES Meeting Summary

11/30/2007

12/17/07 Meeting Notice: Meeting with Louisiana Energy Services to Discuss Project Management Issues and Status Related to the Licensee's Gas Centrifuge Uranium Enrichment Facility to be Constructed in Eunice, NM

09/18/2007

Closed Meeting Notice: Meeting with Louisiana Energy Services to Discuss Additional Security Measures Order on Protection of Classified Information for the National Enrichment Facility

09/14/2007

Closed Meeting Notice: Meeting with Louisiana Energy Services to Discuss Proprietary Structural Design Changes for the National Enrichment Facility

09/12/2007

Closed Meeting Notice: Meeting with Louisiana Energy Services to Discuss Additional Security Measures Order on Physical Security for the National Enrichment Facility

06/11/2007

Louisiana Energy Services Management Meeting

12/12/2006

Louisiana Energy Services Quarterly Management Meeting

08/10/2006

Louisiana Energy Services Public Meeting

05/23/2006

Louisiana Energy Services Quarterly Management Meeting

02/10/2006

In-Office-Review Summary: Louisiana Energy Services Nuclear Criticality
Safety Validation and Verification Report

12/20/2005 Louisiana Energy Services Management Meeting
08/02/2005 Louisiana Energy Services Public Meeting Summary
05/31/2005

In-Office-Review Summary: Louisiana Energy Services Decommissioning
Funding

05/18/2005 Louisiana Energy Services Quarterly Management Meeting
04/19/2005 In-Office-Review Summary: Louisiana Energy Services Decommissioning
Funding
01/12/2005 January 12, 2005, Meeting Summary: Louisiana Energy Services Quarterly Management Meeting
11/10/2004 Summary of meeting with Louisiana Energy Services about the LES Gas Centrifuge Uranium Enrichment Plant
10/21/2004 Louisiana Energy Services Quarterly Management Meeting
09/09/2004 In-Office-Review Summary: Louisiana Energy Services Safe-By-Design
Approach
07/08/2004 Louisiana Energy Services Criticality Issues Meeting
06/24/2004 Louisiana Energy Services Quarterly Management Meeting
05/27-28/2004

Louisiana Energy Services’ In-Office Review, Hobbs, New Mexico and Site Visit, Eunice, New Mexico

03/25/2004

Louisiana Energy Services Quarterly Management Meeting

03/09-10/2004

Louisiana Energy Services' Integrated Safety Analysis In-Office Review

02/26/2004

Louisiana Energy Services' Approach for Preparing the Integrated Safety Analysis

11/04/2003 Public Meeting on the Louisiana Energy Services Proposed Enrichment Plant in Eunice, New Mexico
10/01-03/2003

Meetings with Local Officials Related to the Louisiana Energy Services Proposed Enrichment Plant in Eunice, New Mexico

03/06-07/2003 Conference call to discuss Quality Assurance Summary
02/12/2003 Louisiana Energy Services State Senate Hearing
11/18/2002 Louisiana Energy Services Smith County Commission Meeting and Macon County Public Information Forum
10/21/2002 Trousdale County Commission Meeting Summary
10/14/2002 LES Public Information Forum Meeting Summary
10/03/2002

Louisiana Energy Services Pre-Application Meeting on Site Characterization

09/24-25/2002 Meeting with State Officials and County Executives on LES proposed application
09/05/2002 LES Pre-Application Meeting on Operational Experience and Quality Assurance
08/08/2002 LES Pre-Application Meeting on Instrumentation and Controls and Integrated Safety Assessment
06/25/2002 Louisiana Energy Services Pre-Application Meeting on Information
Security
05/29/2002 Louisiana Energy Services Pre-Application Meeting on Information Security
05/21-23/2002 Foreign Trip
04/30/2002 LES Pre-Application Meeting on General Policy Issues
03/19/2002 LES Pre-Application Meeting on General Licensing Issues

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Indirect Transfer of License

On October 19, 2007, LES submitted a request for indirect transfer of license. In this request, LES proposes to: (1) restructure itself from a Limited Partnership to a Limited Liability Company; and (2) reorganize the ownership arrangement of Urenco Deelnemingen BV, a current partner of LES. No physical changes to the LES facility or operational changes are being proposed.

On January 31, 2008, in accordance with 10 CFR 2.1 301 (b), NRC published a Federal Register notice on the consideration of the application and offering an opportunity to provide comments and petition for a hearing. No comments or petitions for a hearing were received.

The following is a list of correspondence applicable to this licensing action:

Document Date ADAMS Accession Number
LES request for indirect transfer of license 10-19-07 ML073580228
NRC acceptance review 11-07-07 ML073170148
LES revision of proprietary designation 11-05-07 ML073120014
NRC approval of request to withhold information 11-30-07 ML073330368
Federal Register Notice 01-31-08 ML073551143
NRC approval of Indirect Transfer of License 04-03-08 ML080800028
Amendment to License 05-09-08 ML081160192

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Inspection Reports

To ensure that LES complies with regulatory requirements, NRC staff conducts inspections of the facility. Inspections may be announced or unannounced. The following inspection reports have been prepared:

Inspection Report Numbers Date ADAMS Accession Number
70-3103/2007-001 01-19-07 ML070190661
70-3103/2007-001 05-24-07 ML071440430
70-3103/2007-002 08-16-07 ML072280647
70-3103/2007-003 11-02-07 ML073060571
70-3103/2007-004 03-07-08 ML080670475
70-3103/2008-001 04-24-08 ML081160345
70-3103/2008-002 07-10-08 ML081930118
70-3103/2008-003 10-30-08 ML083040618
70-3103/2009-001 03-26-09 ML090850669
70-3103/2009-002 06-30-09 ML091770643
70-3103/2009-003 09-30-09 ML092730612
70-3103/2009-004 12-21-09 ML093511013
70-3103/2009-006 10-14-09 ML092820188
70-3103/2009-007 01-27-2010 ML100271177
70-3103/2009-008 03-18-2010 ML100770218
70-3103/2010-005 03-26-2010 ML100850424
70-3103/2010-006 05-03-2010 ML101230475
70-3103/2010-007 03-31-2010 ML100900329
70-3103/2010-008 04-27-2010 ML101170813
70-3103/2010-009 05-07-2010 ML101300087
70-3103/2010-010 05-28-2010 ML101480080
70-3103/2010-202 06-04-2010 ML101480060
70-3103/2010-001 06-30-2010 ML101810503
70-3103/2010-011 07-16-2010 ML101970444
70-3103/2010-012 07-21-2010 ML102020385
70-3103/2010-013 08-20-2010 ML102320298
70-3103/2010-203 11-26-2010 ML103130421
70-3103/2010-014 12-09-2010 ML103430490
70-3103/2010-003 12-17-2010 Not Publicly Available
70-3103/2010-015 12-22-2010 ML103560272
70-3103/2010-004 01-13-2011 ML110130336
70-3103/2010-205 02-07-2011 Not Publicly Available
70-3103/2011-006 03-31-2011 ML11090A037
70-3103/2011-002 04-29-2011 ML111190268
70-3103/2011-008 06-15-2011 ML111660886
70-3103/2011-010 06-22-2011 ML111730397
70-3103/2011-003 07-26-2011 ML112070634
70-3103/2011-011 09-19-2011 ML11263A098
70-3103/2011-202 09-22-2011 Not Publicly Available
70-3103/2011-201 10-05-2011 ML111040039
70-3103/2011-004 10-28-2011 ML11301A218
70-3103/2011-203 11-29-2011 Not Publicly Available
70-3103/2011-012 12-07-2011 ML113410075
70-3103/2011-009 12-08-2011 ML11342A131
70-3103/2011-204 12-15-2011 Not Publicly Available
70-3103/2011-007 12-16-2011 ML11353A102
70-3103/2011-013 01-25-2012 ML12025A286
70-3103/2011-005 01-30-2012 ML12030A239
70-3103/2012-201 04-19-2012 ML12108A130
70-3103/2012-202 05-01-2012 Not Publicly Available
70-3103/2012-003 07-06-2012 ML12188A105
770-3103/2012-204 07-12-2012 Not Publicly Available

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Page Last Reviewed/Updated Wednesday, December 21, 2016