Thank you for that question.
We're maintaining our lead on the nuclear side by focusing on the non-nuclear, somewhat paradoxically. What provides us opportunity in the non-nuclear sector is you have a diverse array of customers, and in our particular area with deuterium oxide or heavy water, they're so unconnected, from semiconductors to pharmaceuticals, it provides the ingredients of being able to move with market pull from multiple diverse users of small to medium quantities of heavy water. The challenge on the nuclear side is that you've only got one, two, or three giant users who need everything or nothing. We can bridge the supply and demand by working with the non-nuclear sector, doing smaller quantities, and we can scale up with them.
We have a wonderful program with Canadian Nuclear Laboratories. It's a three-stage program where we're marketing some of the surplus inventory of heavy water that the Government of Canada owns into the non-nuclear market, developing the customer relationships. We're also working with Canadian Nuclear Laboratories to develop a refinery or a recycling tool at the Chalk River laboratories, where we'll be working with our customers in the non-nuclear sectors who use the heavy water, downgrade it isotopically and then can provide it back to us to upgrade back to the high purity they need for their process.
We extend the life of the finite inventory. We advance the technology for enrichment or production of heavy water with very modern technology. Finally, we're building the pathway, or the bridge, to private sector market pull saying, “I need 10 tonnes here; I need 12 tonnes here; I need 3 tonnes there”, who can create the financing conditions to allow the private sector to raise the capital and invest in a scalable production technology to take natural water and enrich that to the very high purity of deuterium oxide or heavy water, the deuterium component of natural water.
It's a three-step project. It's a really wonderful way of looking at how a private sector entrepreneurial firm can work with a government entity, which is now being transformed to this private sector operator entity. Really what we need is to make sure that the private sector operator at AECL doesn't close doors, that it opens them.