Australian uranium enrichment technology developer Silex Systems has revealed it could begin operations at its joint venture Paducah Laser Enrichment Facility (PLEF) in the United States as early as 2027/28.
The plant, which will reprocess spent uranium tailings from US nuclear facilities, is capable of producing traditional nuclear fuels as well as Low Enriched Uranium (LEU) and Low Enriched Uranium plus which can be utilised in the new generation of small modular nuclear reactors.
The company made the announcement as part of news that its’ Global Laser Enrichment (GLE) joint venture had signed a letter of intent with US nuclear power station operator Dominion Energy Services.
Dominion operates seven US nuclear power stations generating 6,700 megawatts of electricity and the letter is the third such agreement alongside those with power station operators Constellation Energy Generation and Duke Energy.
The letter of intent identifies a number of areas of potential cooperation including supporting GLE’s deployment of the Silex laser enrichment technology and commercialising the PLEF facility.
GLE is a majority owned joint venture with Canadian nuclear fuel provider Cameco Corporation.
Silex Managing Director Michael Goldsworthy said: “This is another important step in advancing GLE’s strategy to commercialise the Silex technology in the US and to provide additional diversification in the supply of nuclear fuel.”
He said in a statement that GLE could become a significant contributor to nuclear fuel production in the US for current and future reactors.
The US is looking to diversify supply of fuels away from imports, including from Russia.
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Picture: Silex Systems