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NRC Advances Plans for Laser Uranium Enrichment in NHCo


This week the Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued its two final reports for the construction of a new laser-based uranium enrichment facility in New Hanover County. 

WHQR’s Sara Wood reports the agency gave a green light advancing the next steps for GE-Hitachi’s proposed plant.

The NRC’s Safety Evaluation Report and Environmental Impact Statement complete the agency’s review of GE-Hitachi’s application, which was filed in 2009. The proposed facility would use new laser technologies developed in Australia to enrich uranium for use in commercial nuclear fuel for power reactors. The facility would be built on the already-existing site of GE-Hitachi’s Castle Hayne plant. Before an operating license can be issued, the NRC’s Atomic and Safety Licensing Board must hold a public hearing on its review. That hearing is expected to take place this summer, but the NRC says it has not yet decided if it will be held in North Carolina or at its home base in Maryland.If licensed, GE-Hitachi expects plant construction to begin late this year and continue through to 2020. 

Read the NRC's Safety Evaluation Report and Environmental Impact Study.