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Nuclear Fuel Cycle 

Uranium ConversionIncreasing global electricity demand combined with growing concern about the climate effects of fossil fuel are creating a renewed worldwide interest in nuclear power.  A nuclear power industry inevitably creates a potential for increased risk of nuclear weapons proliferation. 

The nuclear reactors are not the major concern - rather it is the nuclear fuel. Today’s nuclear reactors use uranium fuel with an enhanced concentration, or enrichment, of the active isotope of uranium U-235. The process of enriching uranium for nuclear fuel uses precisely the same equipment as could be used to produce the much higher concentrations needed for a nuclear bomb. As the fuel is burned in a reactor, plutonium is formed.  If the nuclear waste is reprocessed, the plutonium is extracted and it can also be used to power a nuclear bomb. 

If the use world is to see a more widespread use of nuclear power, the nuclear fuel cycle must be closely monitored or there will be a widely proliferated nuclear weapons capability.

Open Fuel Cycle

Mining
LWR Arrow Interim Storage
Mining LWR Interim Storage
Arrow Arrow
Milling Fabrication
Waste Disposal
Fabrication Waste Disposal
Milling
Arrow Arrow
Conversion Arrow Enrichment
Conversion Enrichment

Current Limited Reprocessing/Recycling

Mining
Arrow LWR
Arrow Interim Storage

Mining
LWR
Interim Storage
Arrow Arrow Arrow
Milling
Fabrication
Arrow Reprocessing
Milling
Fabrication
Reprocessing
Arrow Arrow Arrow
Conversion
Enrichment

Waste Disposal
Conversion
Enrichment
Waste Disposal

Recycling with Fast Neutron Reactor

Mining
Arrow LWR
Arrow Interim Storage

Mining
LWR
Interim Storage
Arrow Arrow Arrow
Milling
Fabrication
Arrow Reprocessing Arrow FBR
Milling
Fabrication
Reprocessing Arrow
Arrow Arrow Arrow
Conversion
Enrichment

Waste Disposal
Conversion
Enrichment
Waste Disposal