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BOISE -- French nuclear services giant Areva SA no longer projects a date for building its proposed Idaho uranium enrichment plant, aiming to avoid dashing expectations while its hunt for financing lingers on.

Work on the $3 billion Eagle Rock enrichment plant was originally to start in 2011. That was delayed to 2012, then 2013 and 2014.

Now, Areva says only the facility remains a priority but that it would be imprudent to give a ground-breaking date amid unresolved talks over money.

Not to be overlooked is dimmed optimism for nuclear power.

Areva announced interest in the Idaho project in 2008, long before the Japanese nuclear disaster at Fukushima in 2011 and the emergence of plentiful U.S. natural gas supplies.

What's more, a rival nuclear fuel producer in New Mexico is expanding.

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