Andrews is one of only four sites in the nation on the short-list for a $55 million nuclear facility.
It’s a state-of-the-art uranium de-conversion plant. What it does is takes radioactive material and turns it into usable products like high-purity fluorine gas.
If it’s built in West Texas it could add as much as $50 million to the economy per year.
The Idaho based company International Isotopes is hoping to build A first of its kind facility at the beginning of the next decade…the flourine produced has many uses.
President and CEO Steve Laflin said: “It’s the etching process to put circuitry into: cell phones, satellites, laptop computers that sort of thing.”
Andrews has offered everything from free land to 100 percent tax abatement.
Laflin said: “They’ve done a fantastic job putting a package together to attract us to this area and we find it a very attractive place for the business potentially.”
If Andrews is chosen, 100 workers will be needed to construct the 600-acre facility then 50 permanent jobs will open within the plant.
Wesley Burnett with the Andrews Economic Development Corporation said: “These 50 jobs could spin off into another 200-300 jobs over the next several years so yeah, it’s huge for Andrews.”
Public support is growing.
Andrews County Judge Richard H. Dolgener said: “Neighbors are talking to each other and they are beginning to understand it where 4 years ago nobody was really here to talk about it.”
For Andrews it’s another step into diversification.
“It just adds stability to our economy and gets us through the ups and downs of the oil and gas industry,” Burnett said.
Two sites in New Mexico and one in Idaho are also in the running.
International Isotopes Inc. is expected to choose the winner by the end of this year.