What is hidden inside the factory producing nuclear fuel within the city bounradies?
Last year, Chemical Concentrates Factory of Novosibirsk produced and sold 70% of the world consumption of lithium-7 isotope (1,300 kg) beating its own record. However, the factory specializes in nuclear fuel production which makes Novosibirsk citizens shiver while thinking about it. People say about an underground city belonging to the factory and some radioactive wind. So, let’s visit thisÂ mysterious place and find out which of that is true.
Chemical Concentrates Factory of Novosibirsk is one of the world leading producers of nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants and reactors of Russia and other countries. It is the only factory producing lithium metal and its salts in Russia. Its earnings for 9 months are estimated at 86 million dollars; 10 million 607 thousand dollars for export.
In this department, they produce fuel assemblies for nuclear reactors. This is what we call nuclear fuel for nuclear power plants. To enter the factory, you have to put on an overall, hat, shoe covers and mask.
Here, they work with uranium-bearing material.
“Factory Passport; Uranium Dioxide Powder Production”.
From here, they manage uranium dioxide powder production to later make fuel pellets out of it.
Workers of the factory carry out preventive maintenance on a regular basis. Its exhaust ventilation is on all the time filling the space with fresh air.
In these bi-cones, they keep uranium dioxide powder. They mix it with plasticizing agent for better pressing.
This device presses the mix to receive fuel pellets.
After that, fuel pellets go into the furnace. After hydrogen firing, they change their color and size.
All works are done inside those boxes to prevent contacting with environment.
Those flames are burning hydrogen. The temperature inside the furnace is over +1,750C; they fire their fuel pellets for over 20 hours.
Those black boxes are high-temperature furnaces.
They grind each fuel pellet to make it of the size they want and check it for cracks, splits and other defects.
Each 4.5 kg fuel pellet is equivalent to 640 kg of wood, 400 kg of coal, 360 m3 of gas and 350 kg of oil.
Uranium dioxide fuel pellets after firing.
They fill zirconium tubes with their fuel pellets to make fuel elements to make fuel assemblies or, in other words, nuclear fuel.