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Eunice, a tiny oil patch town in southeastern New Mexico fallen on hard times, successfully lobbied in 2005 to become the site of the nation’s first gas-centrifuge uranium enrichment plant, after the international consortium of energy companies that own and operate the plant were turned down in Louisiana and Tennessee. The $1.5 billion National Enrichment Facility will have to contend with the gaseous UF6 waste product, which is highly toxic, explosive and pyrophoric when in contact with water and corrosive to most metals. Chances are the waste materials will be stored five miles away from the plant, just across the border in Texas (p. 52).

The oil and gas industry, according to the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, is the "largest civilian employer in the state." It is ranked second in the country in natural gas production and natural gas reserves, sixth in production of crude oil, and fourth in crude oil reserves (p. 210).
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  A residential street in Eunice. March 2008.
  Out of business on Main Street in Eunice. March 2008.
  Main Street, Eunice. March 2008.
  Rosa Plair’s sister and brother-in-law own JD’s Service Center. They recently asked her to come to Eunice and work in the shop as they are so busy due to high oil prices and the construction of the uranium enrichment facility in town. March 2008.
  Jo Ann Davis and her husband are the owners of JD’s Service Center. She also serves as a Eunice City Councilwoman. She tells me that JD’s sells more Coke products than any other store in the county; the various boom industries that have come to Eunice have helped them expand their business from washing cars to full service plus a small store. March 2008.
  The Oil Patch Motel on Eunice’s Main Street has added a trailer park and “cottages” to rent short-term to workers. March 2008.
  At the rodeo grounds in Eunice, which are currently unused. March 2008.
  A shooting range near the small lake outside the town of Eunice. March 2008.
  Louisiana Energy Services’ uranium enrichment facility in Eunice, halfway through its four-year construction. March 2008.   1
  Waiting for a haircut at Eunice’s Cardinal Barber Shop, built in 1934. The owner says that since LES came to town, he’s been working long hours, but there’s no one to hire to relieve him. March 2008.
  Drinkard oil well field outside of Eunice, named after the homestead where the oil was discovered, as per custom. March 2008.
  The town of Eunice has grown to surround this oil company, John H. Hendrix Corp., according to Mayor Matt White. March 2008.
  Outside the garage at JD’s Service Center in Eunice. March 2008.

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[1] According to the Nuclear Information and Research Service in Washington, DC, the LES plant in Eunice "does not have a meaningful or realistic UF-6 disposal strategy…. And there are currently no facilities available in the United States for disposal of the massive quantities of UF-6 the LES plant would generate" (p. 214).
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