By EMERY P. DALESIO / AP Business Writer
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has approved construction of a North Carolina plant using classified laser technology to enrich uranium for nuclear reactors.
The NRC said Tuesday it has issued a license for the GE-Hitachi Global Nuclear Fuels facility near Wilmington. The company was established in 2007 by General Electric and Tokyo-based Hitachi to serve the global nuclear industry.
Enriching uranium with lasers could make it cheaper to fuel nuclear power plants that generate electricity. Nuclear weapons control advocates worry that allowing companies to use the technology could increase the risk of it falling into the wrong hands.
The NRC says it will conduct inspections during the construction and operation of the plant. The agency plans a public meeting in Wilmington before construction begins to explain oversight plans.