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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission today issued a license to GE-Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment LLC (GLE) to build and operate a uranium enrichment plant using laser technology in Castle Hayne.

The license authorizes GLE to enrich uranium up to eight percent by weight in the fissile isotope U-235, using a laser-based technology. It will be used in fuel for commercial nuclear power reactors. GLE plans to build the plant at the site of GE-Hitachi’s existing Global Nuclear Fuel-America’s fuel fabrication plant.

“Receiving our NRC license is a tremendous accomplishment and strong testament to everyone involved in this project,” GLE President and CEO Chris Monetta said in a statement. “The technology we’ve developed could be one of the keys to the nation’s long-term energy security. At a minimum, it could provide a steady supply of uranium enriched right here in the US to the country’s nuclear reactors. These reactors provide approximately 20 percent of the nation’s electricity today and will continue to be an important part of the energy mix for decades to come.”

The approval comes more than three years after GLE submitted its license application and after safety and environmental reviews by the NRC.

There’s no word when construction will begin. The company says “the next step in the process is for the company to make a commercialization decision. This decision will be based on several factors.” It did not elaborate on those factors.

The NRC staff will conduct inspections during the construction and operation of the GLE facility. The agency plans to hold a public meeting in Wilmington before construction begins to explain its oversight plans to the public.

Comment on this Story

  • Guest7969

    ITS THE END OF THE WORLD! It will kill us all, it will poison our children…we don’t want the new jobs!….Did I get it all?

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    …the chicken-little fear of nuclear proliferation. Twenty minutes after GE fires this process up (if they do) Lesotho will be a nuclear power.

  • Amazed

    When I read a comment like this, I am amazed at your compete ignorance. It takes a real idoit to post a comment about something you know NOTHING about. Do you even know what uranium enrichment is? I have a real simple solution for you……MOVE, we don’t want YOU in Wilmington.

  • Guest1

    I can’t tell if the previous comment is a pro-nuker poking fun at the anti-nukes or if it was from a bona fide anti-nuke. In either case, it was not helpful to either side of the debate.

    My understanding is that this laser-based enrichment technology has the potential to significantly reduce the energy consumption needed to prepare nuclear fuel — which is a win for both sides of the debate. This not only reduces the costs of producing nuclear fuel, it reduces its CO2footprint as well……since enriching uranium requires considerable electricity that is presently produced primarily by burning coal and natural gas.

  • Guesttitan

    They complain about the dust from Titan plant, but they have said nothing about this.

    Go Figure

  • jj

    Where are all the Titan people. I would think this is far worst than a little dust..

  • Guest1

    You’re an IDIOT!!
    Ohh myyy…there going to build a facility here that’s going to bring in jobs for hundreds of people.
    Why don’t you put up some solar panels and wind turbines on your property…get off the grid…then start your complaining and whining.

  • guesty

    …sarcasm and then apply what you have learned to Guest7969’s post.

  • Beach Bum

    Nuclear power is nothing to fear. In fact it was one of the more efficent and safer utilities out there.

    GE is not producing weapons grade enriched uranium and even if it was, why wouldn’t you want it here in America where it can be under constant supervision and out of the hands of our enemies?

    Glad they also created jobs for the region. Should help spur our local economy.


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