Federal regulators have approved a 40-year license for a proposed uranium deconversion plant in southeastern New Mexico.
Officials with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission signed the construction and operating license for International Isotopes Inc. during a ceremony Tuesday.
The NRC determined in August that there were no environmental effects that would preclude licensing the plant that the Idaho-based company plans to build near Hobbs.
The company plans to deconvert the depleted uranium tails produced by Louisiana Energy Services' National Enrichment Facility in nearby Eunice.
The process will make the byproducts of uranium enrichment safe for long-term disposal while recycling chemicals that can be used in solar panels, computer screens and medical equipment.
Company president Steve Laflin says obtaining the license has long been a prerequisite for entering serious negotiations for financing the $125 million project.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.