Louisiana Energy Services (LES) is a multinational consortium that seeks to build a private uranium enrichment plant in the United States. Dominated by the European consortium Urenco, LES first attempted to build a plant in Louisiana in the 1990s, but was blocked by years of organizing by a multiracial citizens group, Citizens Against Nuclear Trash, which ultimately prevailed before a Nuclear Regulatory Commission Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) and won one of the nation’s first courtroom verdicts on environmental justice.
In 2002, LES tried to go to Tennessee, but were thrown out of the state in less than two years as citizens and community leaders did not believe LES promises that radioactive waste would not remain in Tennessee and that there would be no radioactive discharges to the Cumberland River. Giving up there, LES then decided to go to eastern New Mexico, near Eunice, in a last-ditch attempt to build its plant. If they fail in New Mexico, it is highly likely LES—and its parent Urenco, will give up on the United States.
LES is composed of Urenco and a few minority shareholders, which include Westinghouse (wholly owned by Urenco partner British Nuclear Fuels, Ltd. or BNFL), and Exelon, a major US nuclear utility.
In this section, you can find material on LES and Urenco, as well as courtroom documents on the NIRS/Public Citizen intervention against this project. In July 2004, an ASLB ruled that 7 of NIRS/PC’s 8 contentions would be heard in formal hearings over the next two years. These issues include radioactive waste disposal, decommissioning cost estimates, water use, and many others.
For policy and technical information on the full range of issues associated with uranium, visit the WISE-Uranium website at http://www.antenna.nl/wise/uranium.