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Volume 974: debated on Monday 26 November 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy what progress has been made in the use of lasers for isotopic separation; and when he expects to be able to use lasers as a safe, quicker and cheaper method of processing nuclear waste.

A lot of work is under way in the United States on the issue of laser-based processes for uranium isotopic separation. A number of other countries, including the United Kingdom, are also studying such processes. There are no clear indications yet that any such process has reached a production scale. Therefore it is not yet possible to assess accurately whether it will eventually become competitive with the centrifuge process for uranium enrichment.