Companies Team to Meet Rising Global Demand for Enriched Uranium
WILMINGTON, NC, June 20 /CNW/ - GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH) and
Cameco Corp., the world's largest uranium producer, have announced that Cameco
has joined GE and Hitachi as owners of their laser enrichment venture.
The demand for enriched uranium is projected to increase significantly in
the next decade with the anticipated construction of a new generation of
nuclear power plants to help address the world's converging needs involving
energy security and global climate change.
In response to this need, a U.S. subsidiary of Cameco, Cameco Enrichment
Holdings LLC, has invested in GE Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment (GLE), a GEH
subsidiary that is commercializing a third-generation enrichment process using
laser technology to enrich uranium for nuclear power plants.
Cameco's participation results in three leading companies supporting the
commercialization of this laser enrichment technology. Cameco Enrichment
Holdings LLC has acquired a 24% interest in GLE. GE remains the majority
owner, indirectly owning 51% of GLE, while Tokyo-based Hitachi Ltd. indirectly
owns 25%. Tammy Orr will continue to serve as president and CEO of GLE.
Nuclear energy is receiving increased public support as one of the few
available, base-load sources of power that do not create carbon emissions
during the generating process. A May 2008 public opinion survey by Zogby
International shows 67% of Americans support the construction of nuclear
Currently, 104 licensed nuclear reactors operate in the United States,
providing about 20% of the country's electricity. However, as the nation's
demand for energy continues to outpace production, utilities will need to
build at least 20 to 25 new, advanced reactors by 2030 to simply maintain
nuclear energy's 20% role in the nation's energy portfolio, according to the
Nuclear Energy Institute.
The venture is well-positioned to identify and capitalize on
opportunities resulting from the parties' respective areas of technical
excellence in the nuclear fuel cycle.
As part of the transaction, GLE and Cameco may sell their complementary
uranium and enrichment services together if customers request proposals for
combined uranium and enrichment services. The transaction enhances
opportunities to collaborate on the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle.
The investment by Cameco, based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, extends the
company's involvement in the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle.
"Cameco's investment, and the opportunity to team together on the supply
of uranium and enrichment services, supports GLE's commercialization of the
laser enrichment technology and enables the parties to offer an expanded scope
of supply to meet our customers' needs," said Lisa Price, GEH's Senior Vice
President, Nuclear Fuel Cycle. "Integration within the nuclear fuel cycle is
an important long-term growth strategy for our business in a highly
"This investment further expands and integrates Cameco's interests in the
nuclear fuel cycle as we pursue our objective to be a leading nuclear energy
company, producing uranium fuel and generating clean electricity," said Jerry
Grandey, Cameco's president and CEO. "It is fitting that three leaders in the
nuclear industry support the development of the next generation of uranium
GLE has exclusive rights to develop, commercialize and launch the
technology on a global basis under a 2006 agreement with the original
developer, the Australian company Silex Systems Ltd. A test loop facility,
designed to demonstrate the commercial feasibility of the technology, is being
constructed at GEH's headquarters in Wilmington, N.C. GLE anticipates a
start-up of its test loop by late 2008.
GLE intends to make a final decision on the construction of a commercial
facility as early as the beginning of 2009. Commercial facility licensing
activities currently are underway to support a projected start-up date of
2012. The GLE commercial facility would have a target capacity of between 3.5
and 6 million separative work units (SWUs).
GEH announced on April 30 the selection of its headquarters site to host
the potential full-scale GLE production facility if a decision is made to
proceed with construction of the plant following the test loop phase. On May
12, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission notified GLE that the agency had
approved a license amendment request to operate the test loop. Additional
approvals would be required to construct and operate the commercial facility.
About GEH Nuclear Energy
Based in Wilmington, N.C., GEH is a world-leading provider of advanced
reactors and nuclear services. Established in June 2007, GEH is a global
nuclear alliance created by GE and Hitachi to serve the global nuclear
industry. The new nuclear alliance executes a single, strategic vision to
create a broader portfolio of solutions, expanding its capabilities for new
reactor and service opportunities. The alliance offers customers around the
world the technological leadership required to effectively enhance reactor
performance, power output and safety.
About GE Energy
GE Energy (www.ge.com/energy) is one of the world's leading suppliers of
power generation and energy delivery technologies, with 2007 revenue of $22
billion. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, GE Energy works in all areas of the energy
industry including coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy; renewable
resources such as water, wind, solar and biogas; and other alternative fuels.
Numerous GE Energy products are certified under ecomagination, GE's
corporate-wide initiative to aggressively bring to market new technologies
that will help customers meet pressing environmental challenges.
About Cameco Corporation
Cameco, with its head office in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, is the world's
largest uranium producer. The company's uranium products are used to generate
electricity in nuclear power plants around the world, providing one of the
cleanest sources of energy available today. Cameco's shares trade on the
Toronto and New York stock exchanges.
For further information:
For further information: Ned Glascock, GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, (910)
675-5729, firstname.lastname@example.org; Howard Masto or Tom Murnane, Masto Public
Relations, (518) 786-6488, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org