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March 01, 2012

Environmental OK for laser enrichment plant

World Nuclear News - The NRC has now issued its final technical Safety Evaluation Report (SER) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed GE laser uranium enrichment plant.

The GLE plant would use a laser-based process to enrich uranium up to 8% uranium-235 by weight (although nuclear power reactors normally require 3%-5% enriched uranium), with an initial planned maximum target production of six million separative work units (SWU) per year. GLE could begin preconstruction activities at GE's Wilmington site prior to the NRC licensing decision later this year. If the license is approved, GLE expects actual plant construction to begin in 2012 and to continue through to 2020. Production could begin in 2014 and peak in 2020. If granted, the license would be valid until 2052.

Laser enrichment could be 2 two 20 times more efficient that other enrichment processes.





Enrichment makes up about 40% of the cost of nuclear fuel.


Enrichment makes up about 53% of the energy invested into nuclear power. Increasing the energy efficiency of enrichment would greatly increase the energy return on energy invested from nuclear power



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