U.S. regulators issue license to GE-Hitachi for laser enrichment plant

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued "a license to General Electric-Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment LLC (GLE) to construct and operate a uranium enrichment plant using laser technology in Wilmington, N.C." The license allows GLE to enrich uranium to 8% of U-235 for use in commercial nuclear power reactors.

According to World Nuclear News, the enrichment facility will be built at the site of the existing GE-Hitachi fuel fabrication plant. However, the company has not yet confirmed that it will proceed with the construction.

Development of the laser enrichment technology, known as Silex, has been a controversial issue. There are strong reasons to believe that the technology could stimulate nuclear proliferation. NRC, however, claimed that proliferation issues are outside of the scope of its responsibilities.