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BOISE -- It could be years before a French nuclear enricher builds a proposed $3 billion plant near Idaho Falls, but Department of Commerce Director Jeff Sayer remains optimistic the company will eventually break ground.

Last year, French nuclear giant Areva SA abandoned projecting a date for building its Idaho uranium enrichment plant in the desert west of Idaho Falls.

Work on the Eagle Rock enrichment plant was meant to start in 2011.

That was delayed to 2012, then 2013 and 2014 -- and now, a time uncertain.

But Sayer said Friday he isn't giving up hope.

From what he hears, Sayer said, a key factor in Areva's decision-making will be Japan's decision to restart reactors.

All are offline, following the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami that triggered a nuclear crisis.

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