Fuel For a Nuclear Plant: How Is It Made?

Fuel For a Nuclear Plant: How Is It Made?

How do they extract fuel for nuclear plants? What do they do with it? How do they make energy from it? Let’s find this out.

Fuel For a Nuclear Plant: How Is It Made?

Natural uranium contains only 0,7% of uranium 235 and 99,3% of uranium 238. Most reactors apply enriched uranium – uranium 235. Reserves of natural uranium amount to 4,3 million tons (intelligence information only). Reserves of extracted uranium – 240 thousands of tons.

Fuel For a Nuclear Plant: How Is It Made?

Extracted uranium is turned into uranium hexafluoride. It is achieved by fluorination of uranium tetrafluoride.

Fuel For a Nuclear Plant: How Is It Made?

Extracted ore that contains only some kilograms of uranium per ton is concentrated and crushed to be subsequently processed. The resulting powder contains 70% of uranium.

Fuel For a Nuclear Plant: How Is It Made?

Enriched uranium is made according to the centrifugal technology (enriched uranium is selected in the center of the gas centrifuge rotating at high speed. In the end it becomes brown).

Fuel For a Nuclear Plant: How Is It Made?

The brown powder turns into such pills. They contain uranium dioxide which is pressed for making nuclear fuel elements. Every pill weighs seven grams but gives as much energy as 570 litres of oil or 730 kilograms of coal do! Can you imagine that??

Fuel For a Nuclear Plant: How Is It Made?

In huge amounts such pills are stuffed into such rods and supplied to nuclear plants.

Fuel For a Nuclear Plant: How Is It Made?

And you probably know what happens next…
via wasin

3 thoughts on “Fuel For a Nuclear Plant: How Is It Made?”

  1. So much energy is used to excavate, transport, extract, refine and store this product, I wonder if the energy returned is always going to be so much more than is used to make it? We have cheap oil and coal now.

  2. Early on, before centrifuges were common, nuclear plants (I am speaking of the entire energy to build the plant AND mine any fuel required for operation) had a slightly poorer energy balance than many fossil fuel plants. However, since centrifuges have come onto the scene (and now laser enrichment), nuclear plants are as good, or better than just about anything. Yes, there is a lot of energy required for extraction, but the fuel is so unbelievably energy dense that it still wins out overall.

    What’s important to remember is that there is no free lunch in energy. Everything has downsides and upsides. So when you hear someone say something incredibly polarizing or trying to outright dismiss any problems of their favored technology, be very skeptical of their message.

  3. TVEL. Or OAO Mashinostroitelnyi Závod (how innocent and saying nothing on its true production -), located in the city of Elektrostal, east of Moscow. Right here:
    https://goo.gl/maps/TDxhh

    The factory’s surroundings is a bit radioactive, of course-)

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