The Areva NP plant in Richland has been investing an average of $7 million a year into its nuclear fuel manufacturing company for the last decade.
It’s a trend that appears to be continuing.
In the past four months, the nuclear fuel manufacturing plant has announced:
- Plans to build a new $12 million scrap uranium recovery facility.
- The addition of $560 million in fuel contracts for four different nuclear energy facilities.
- Plans to begin developing advanced nuclear fuel assemblies to allow operators more time to respond in emergencies.
Ron Land, manager of the Richland plant, might agree that the company is on a roll, but he has another opinion.
“Our philosophy is to invest in the future,” he said. “We’ve not stopped investing. We continue to invest.”
Areva supplies fuel and fuel-related products for commercial pressurized water reactors and boiling water reactors. Last year it manufactured more than 2,300 fuel assemblies and more than 92 million fuel pellets.
Areva bought the current Richland facility in 2001. The plant has been at its Horn Rapids Road location for 45 years, but Land said Areva has upgraded the entire plant in stages since 2001. It’s among the biggest manufacturers in the Tri-Cities.
“We’ve been upgrading our facility for the last 15 years,” he said.
Much of it is automated.