As well as making fuel, we also produce intermediate uranium products such as enriched uranium dioxide powder, granules and pellets. We also have the capability to produce uranium hexafluoride.
How do we make uranium dioxide powder, granules and pellets?
Uranium hexafluoride (UF6) is turned into a gas, which we then feed into the Integrated Dry Route (IDR) kiln. Here, the gas is changed into UO2 using the IDR process. The UO2 powder is then sifted and blended and either granulated and pelleted to be produced into nuclear fuel or stored before it is exported to customers throughout the world.
How do we make uranium hexafluoride (UF6)?
At Springfields, our uranium hexafluoride production facilities are capable of producing around 5000teU per annum. Uranium tetrafluoride (UF4) that has been chemically processed from natural uranium ore concentrates provides the feed material for UF6 production. UF4 is reacted with fluorine gas in a fluidized bed reactor to form UF6. The UF6 formed is first trapped in condensers by cooling, and then liquified by a heating process. The liquid UF6 is run-off into transport cylinders using remote handling equipment. The liquid solidifies on cooling.
The UF6 is transported to enrichment organisations throughout the world. The enriched UF6 can then be converted into oxide fuels for Advanced Gas-Cooled Reactors and Pressurized/Light Water Reactors.