Bloomberg – GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy’s (GEH) Global Laser Enrichment (GLE) today announced receipt of its license from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to build a groundbreaking laser enrichment facility on the 1,600-acre site of the company’s global headquarters in Wilmington, N.C.
While a commercialization decision must still be made by the company, the license enables GLE to build a first-of-its-kind uranium enrichment facility using lasers conceived of by Australian technology company SILEX and developed by GLE experts.
Washington Post – GE Hitachi said it hasn’t yet decided whether the project will be profitable enough to launch construction of the $1 billion plant. Part of the evaluation will be weighing whether markets for enriched uranium will hold for years into the future
Today, a majority of enriched uranium made to produce nuclear fuel in the United States comes from foreign or government-supplemented sources. The GLE license, applied for in June 2009, will allow the laser enrichment plant to produce up to 6 million single work units (SWU) per year in the United States.
The next step in the process is for the company to make a commercialization decision. This decision will be based on several factors.