France's Areva, along with Washington Group International and BWX Technologies, has submitted an expression of interest to the US Department of Energy for both the development and deployment of a consolidated fuel treatment center and an advanced burner reactor.

The consolidated fuel treatment center will be capable of processing used nuclear fuel into recyclable, energy-producing components and final waste materials. It will serve also as a fuel manufacturing plant.

The advanced burner reactor, meanwhile, is a new type of nuclear reactor that will be designed to use recycled nuclear materials in a way that generates electricity with the valuable content of the irradiated fuel, as well as to consume minor actinides.

In August 2006, the US Department of Energy announced its intention to seek expressions of interest from the domestic and international nuclear industry on the feasibility of accelerating development and deployment of the center and the reactor.

Areva’s proposed investment in the project was reported to be up to $15 billion by French newspaper Les Echos, although the company has declined to confirm or deny this estimate. The newspaper also reported that a number of rivals have also declared their interest in the nuclear project, including General Electric and British Nuclear Fuels.