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Title: Process for producing enriched uranium having a {sup 235}U content of at least 4 wt. % via combination of a gaseous diffusion process and an atomic vapor laser isotope separation process to eliminate uranium hexafluoride tails storage

An uranium enrichment process capable of producing an enriched uranium, having a {sup 235}U content greater than about 4 wt. %, is disclosed which will consume less energy and produce metallic uranium tails having a lower {sup 235}U content than the tails normally produced in a gaseous diffusion separation process and, therefore, eliminate UF{sub 6} tails storage and sharply reduce fluorine use. The uranium enrichment process comprises feeding metallic uranium into an atomic vapor laser isotope separation process to produce an enriched metallic uranium isotopic mixture having a {sup 235} U content of at least about 2 wt. % and a metallic uranium residue containing from about 0.1 wt. % to about 0.2 wt. % {sup 235} U; fluorinating this enriched metallic uranium isotopic mixture to form UF{sub 6}; processing the resultant isotopic mixture of UF{sub 6} in a gaseous diffusion process to produce a final enriched uranium product having a {sup 235}U content of at least 4 wt. %, and up to 93.5 wt. % or higher, of the total uranium content of the product, and a low {sup 235}U content UF{sub 6} having a {sup 235}U content of about 0.71 wt. % of the total uranium content ofmore » the low {sup 235}U content UF{sub 6}; and converting this low {sup 235}U content UF{sub 6} to metallic uranium for recycle to the atomic vapor laser isotope separation process. 4 figs.« less
Inventors:
;
Issue Date:
OSTI Identifier:
63442
Assignee:
Dept. of Energy, Washington, DC (United States) PTO; SCA: 050500; PA: EDB-95:089188; SN: 95001401195
Patent Number(s):
US 5,419,820/A/
Application Number:
PAN: 8-070,741
Contract Number:
W-7405-ENG-48
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 30 May 1995
Research Org:
University of California
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
05 NUCLEAR FUELS; URANIUM 235; GASEOUS DIFFUSION PROCESS; LASER ISOTOPE SEPARATION; HIGHLY ENRICHED URANIUM; SLIGHTLY ENRICHED URANIUM; MODERATELY ENRICHED URANIUM; PRODUCTION; FLUORINATION; URANIUM HEXAFLUORIDE; RECYCLING; MINIMIZATION; ENERGY CONSERVATION

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