France's Areva is among several companies interested in vying for a nuclear recycling project in the United States, the world's largest maker of nuclear reactors said.

Areva, however, declined to confirm that the investment would amount to between $10 and $15 billion as quoted in Les Echos newspaper on Monday.

Areva has put its declaration of interest in constructing a factory that treats and recycles third-generation fuel in the United States, a spokeswoman said.

Areva will jointly work on the project with American engineering company WGI Inc and BWX Technologies, a unit of energy services company McDermott International Inc .

Last August, the U.S. government asked nuclear companies to put in their proposals for the factory which would begin functioning by 2020.

The U.S. nuclear industry has been in limbo since an accident at Three Mile Island in 1979, the worst nuclear accident in U.S. history. No company has followed through with plans to build a new nuclear plant since then.

President Bush has backed renewed construction of nuclear plants as part of his energy policy.

Areva and 15 rivals have declared interest, Les Echos said. Other nuclear rivals include American companies General Electric and Bechtel and state-owned British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL).