Nuclear Fuel Fabrication
Uranium fuel fabrication is the conversion of UF6 into a fuel suitable for use in a nuclear reactor. In some cases, this fuel is also a combination of Uranium and Plutonium mixed oxides. There are a number of fuel fabrication methods: 1) Conversion of UF6 to Uranium Dioxide (UO2) powder which is then turned into pellets, further into ceramic form, and then loaded into Zircaloy tubes for insertion into fuel assemblies. 2)Combination of UO2 and plutonium oxide (PuO2). 3) Nuclear fuel Fabrication is the process whereby the Uranium product from an enrichment process is converted to a form that is usable in a reactor. Typically, this is in the form of Uranium Oxide mixtures. The Uranium Oxide is converted from Uranium Hexafluoride, processed into a powder, and sintered into pellets. These pellets are then loaded into fuel pins which can then be used in a fuel assembly. Some other fuel types include Metal alloy fuels, MOX (Mixed-OXide fuel which is a combination of Uranium and Plutonium), Microsphere particles, Thorium-Uranium mixtures, or Molten Salt.
FAS Resources on Uranium Fuel Fabrication:
F.J. Rahn, A.G. Adamantiades, J.E. Kenton, and C. Braun, A Guide to Nuclear Power Technology. New York: Wiley, 1984.
Bodanksy, David, Nuclear Energy: Principles, Practices, and Prospects. New York: Springer, 2004.