Hitachi sees losses for US laser enrichment project

28 March 2017

Japan’s Hitachi will take an impairment loss of JPY65bn ($588m) in fiscal year 2016 from a stalled US-based project for the commercial development of a laser-based uranium enrichment technology, the company said in a statement on 28 March.

The Global Laser Enrichment (GLE) venture, majority owned by US-based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy (GEH), has operated a laser loop test facility in Wilmington, North Carolina, since 2009. GLE uses an Australia-invented technology which uses lasers to separate uranium isotopes to increase the concentration of fissile U-235. The test loop facility was intended to determine whether to commercialise the technology.

In partnership with GEH, Hitachi and Canadian uranium miner Cameco both own about a fourth of GLE’s shares. GEH itself is 60% owned by General Electric and 40% by Hitachi. Hitachi said the reported loss will be finalised by 31 March 2017, which marks the end of the current fiscal year.

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