Nuclear fuel cycle
Zebroski, Edwin L. Los Altos, California.
- Raw materials
- Uranium resources and mining
- Enrichment methods
- Fuel fabrication
- Interim storage and cooling
- Reprocessing of spent fuel
- Once-through fuel cycle
- Fuel performance improvements
- Nuclear waste disposal options
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The series of processes whereby uranium and related elements are utilized as energy sources in nuclear reactors, and may eventually return to the environment from which they originated, or be reused as energy sources. The nuclear fuel cycle typically involves the following steps: (1) finding and mining the uranium ore; (2) refining the uranium from other elements; (3) enriching the uranium-235 content to 3–5%; (4) fabricating fuel elements; (5) interim storage and cooling of spent fuel; (6) reprocessing of spent fuel to recover uranium and plutonium (optional); (7) fabricating recycle fuel for added energy production (optional); (8) cooling of spent fuel or reprocessing waste, and its eventual transport to a repository for disposal in secure long-term storage. See also: Nuclear fuels
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