US government approves GLE restructure

19 January 2021

A proposed restructuring of GE-Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment LLC (GLE) has received the final key approval from the US government. The restructure will see Australian research and development company Silex Systems and Canadian company Cameco Corporation increase their holdings in the company to 51% and 49%, respectively.

The US Department of the Treasury (Image:

GLE has exclusive rights to commercially develop the SILEX laser isotope separation process technology under an agreement reached between GE (now GE-Hitachi) and Silex in early 2006. Cameco joined the project in mid-2008. GE-Hitachi in 2016 announced its decision to leave the venture, leading to GLE's restructure. Silex and Cameco in December 2019 agreed to jointly purchase GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy's 76% interest for a total of USD20 million, and the three parties executed a binding Membership Interest Purchase Agreement (MIPA) for the restructure of GLE.

Silex yesterday said the US Department of the Treasury Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has approved the transaction under the terms of Section 721 of the Defense Production Act of 1950, after concluding that there are no unresolved national security concerns arising from the transaction. GLE earlier this month received notice from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that it will be granted a stand-alone Facility Clearance, which will enable GLE to continue to operate under new ownership as a foreign owned entity, pursuant to closing of the MIPA.

Silex and GLE have jointly continued work to commercialise the technology at a test loop facility in Wilmington, North Carolina, with plans to enrich depleted uranium tails to natural-grade uranium at a SILEX plant to be built at Paducah, Kentucky. This is underpinned by a 2016 agreement with the US Department of Energy to sell depleted uranium tails from its inventory to GLE for re-enrichment at the Paducah commercial plant project.

"The receipt of approval from CFIUS for the GLE transaction represents a significant milestone for Silex and reflects the dedicated efforts by the Silex team, our colleagues at Cameco and GEH, along with many representatives within the US Government, and we thank everyone for their contribution," Silex CEO and Managing Director Michael Goldsworthy said.

All the key US governmental approvals for the restructure have now been received, Silex said. The companies are now working to finalise remaining conditions under the MIPA and other transition arrangements to enable it them to close the transaction. Closing is expected "in the next few weeks".

Researched and written by World Nuclear News