Australian company Silex Systems has signed a commercialisation and licence agreement for the Silex (Separation of Isotopes by Laser EXcitation) uranium enrichment technology with GE.

The agreement – which requires government approval – provides for a phased approach to the commercialisation of the Silex system. The first phase, expected to take approximately three years, consists of the development of a test loop to test the efficiency of engineering-scale Silex equipment.

Under the terms of the agreement, GE would fund the development activities, which would be built in the US. Following successful completion of the test loop, the pilot plant programme, will involve the construction and operation of a small production plant.

In addition to funding the technology development programme, GE will pay $5 million upon preliminary US government approval, $15 million on final government approval, $15 million upon successful completion of the test loop programme and $20 million upon successful completion of the production plant.