GLE agrees to acquire land for Paducah facility

05 June 2024

Global Laser Enrichment (GLE) has entered into a set of agreements that provides it with an option to purchase a plot of land for the planned Paducah Laser Enrichment Facility in Kentucky.

A visualisation of the planned PLEF (Image: GLE)

GLE is the exclusive global licensee of the SILEX laser-based uranium enrichment technology which was originally developed by Australian company Silex Systems Limited. It is 49%-owned by Canadian company Cameco, which is the commercial lead for the GLE project and holds an option to attain a majority interest of 75%.

GLE is working towards demonstration of the SILEX technology at its Test Loop pilot facility in Wilmington, North Carolina. It is also progressing activities to commercial-scale deployment at the Paducah Laser Enrichment Facility (PLEF).

The plot of land that GLE is to acquire is strategically located adjacent to the US Department of Energy's former first-generation Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP), which was shut down in 2013 after decades of operations. As a result of these operations, significant quantities of legacy depleted tails inventories were generated and remain in storage at the PGDP site.

GLE's PLEF project is underpinned by a 2016 agreement for the sale to GLE of some 200,000 tonnes of depleted uranium hexafluoride (UF6) from the DOE. GLE plans to use this material as feedstock for the production of natural UF6 over three decades.

Silex Systems noted the land purchase option expires in late 2024, "at which time it is anticipated that several pre-conditions will have been met in order to proceed with the purchase of the land".

Researched and written by World Nuclear News