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GE Hitachi, Silex Receive Federal Approvals For Restructure Of GLE Business Venture

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Jan 22, 2021
Key U.S. government approvals were recently reached in a business restructure that will result in Wilmington-based GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy selling off its majority share of the Global Laser Enrichment business, according to a news release.

The three companies involved in the Global Laser Enrichment (GLE) restructure and transaction are working on finalizing agreements and the transaction for the business, stated the release.

"With the necessary approvals having been received it is anticipated the transaction will be completed in the coming weeks," said Jon Allen, spokesman for GE Hitachi, said in an email Friday.

The terms of the agreement, previously announced in December 2019, remain the same, Allen said.

The transaction will result in GE Hitachi selling off its 76% interest in the GLE business, a joint purchase that will result in Australia-based Silex Systems Ltd. getting a 51% interest in GLE and Canada-based Cameco, a uranium and nuclear fuel supplier, increasing its interest from 24% to 49%.

Silex Systems was recently notified that the U.S. Department of the Treasury - Committee on Foreign Investment has approved the transaction "with respect to the terms of Section 721 of the Defense Production Act of 1950," stated the release.

The committee investigation "concluded that there are no unresolved national security concerns arising from the transaction and therefore the transaction was approved," Silex officials said in the release.

On Jan. 8, GLE received notice from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that it will be granted "a stand-alone Facility Clearance," which will enable GLE to continue to operate its Wilmington-based Test Loop facility under the new ownership as a foreign-owned entity, pursuant to the closing of the membership interest purchase agreement.

Since 2016, GE Hitachi has wanted to reduce its equity interest in GLE, a business venture formed in the 2000s by General Electric (GE), Hitachi and Cameco to develop uranium enrichment services capability.

GLE has exclusive rights to commercially develop the SILEX laser isotope separation process technology under an agreement reached with Silex in early 2006.

In the release, Silex CEO and Managing Director Michael Goldsworthy said, “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 U.S. Government, and we thank everyone for their contribution."
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