Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Serious doubts on ANSTO and Silex Systems uranium enrichment technology

The technology in question was licensed from Silex Systems, an Australian company that’s been quietly conducting enrichment research at a small facility near Sydney for the last quarter century.But many experts are skeptical….a huge and extremely risky bet.”…..they also present a major headache for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other nuclear watchdog groups attempting to spot clandestine enrichment plants,

Laser Uranium Enrichment Makes a Comeback The controversial technology poses proliferation risks, but nuclear firms press on, IEEE Spectrum: By Sandra Upson / October 2010 Two technology giants, GE and Hitachi, are betting big on a nuclear renaissance. The companies formed an alliance in 2006 to push for a global expansion of nuclear power. But selling new reactors is only half the game. The joint venture is also aggressively pursuing a controversial technique for making nuclear fuel using lasers, a method they hope to commercialize by building the world’s first industrial-scale pilot plant in 2012. Regulatory agencies are worried that laser enrichment of uranium could lead to the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

GE has called the laser method a “game-changing technology” and along with Hitachi and Cameco Corp., a Canadian nuclear fuel provider in Saskatoon, Sask., is devoting hundreds of millions of dollars to developing it and building the plant near Wilmington, N.C. The technology in question was licensed from Silex Systems, an Australian company that’s been quietly conducting enrichment research at a small facility near Sydney for the last quarter century.

But many experts are skeptical. Allan Krass, a retired U.S. State Department official and a physicist who visited Silex’s laboratory in 2000, says GE and Hitachi “are betting that there will be an upsurge of nuclear power plant construction—that’s a huge and extremely risky bet.” He adds that laser enrichment has been held back by substantial technical hurdles…

…Experts generally believe that a laser facility would be both smaller in size and have much lower energy demands than existing enrichment plants. Those features are excellent from the perspective of improving the economics of nuclear power plants, but they also present a major headache for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other nuclear watchdog groups attempting to spot clandestine enrichment plants, largely from satellite imagery.

October 1, 2010 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, energy, technology, uranium | , , , , , , , , ,

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