GE Energy's nuclear business has signed an agreement with Silex Systems, an Australia-based technology innovator, to licence low enriched uranium manufacturing technology and develop the company’s next generation process in the United States.
The transaction is subject to, among other things, governmental approvals and regulatory controls on the design, construction and operation of the process.
Sydney-based Silex’s technology represents a new third-generation, laser-based ‘isotope separation’ process for enriching uranium which has efficiency advantages over existing technologies such as gas diffusion or gas centrifuge systems. The low-grade enriched uranium will be used for industrial purposes.
“By acquiring the exclusive rights to complete the process development and commercial deployment of Silex’s enrichment technology, GE will be in a strong position to support anticipated demands for enriched uranium,” said Andy White, president of GE’s nuclear business.
In related news, GE recently began construction on a new advanced reactor technology centre at its Wilmington, North Carolina headquarters to be completed in November 2006. “We are optimistic that our new ESBWR technology center will play a crucial, supporting role as we compete for new reactor orders both in the United States and around the world,” White said. Upon completion, the building will house more than 200 engineers, project managers and support staff dedicated to advanced reactor technology.