Fluoride Action Network

Russia processes 100,000 tons of depleted uranium hexafluoride

Source: Nuclear Engineering International | May 25th, 2020
Location: Russia
Industry type: Nuclear Industry

Russia’s Electrochemical Plant (ECP) at Zelenogorsk in Krasnoyarsk in May completed the processing of 100,000 tons of depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUHF) at its W-ECP plant.

“Thanks to the painstaking systematic work performed by the staff of the Electrochemical Plant, the plant has been operating stably for 10 years of operation, without failures, successfully completing its production tasks,” said Dmitry Goncharenko, head of the ECP chemical department.

The W-ECP plant, based on French technology converts DUHF, an unstable waste product of uranium enrichment, into the more stable uranium oxide-oxide through a process of defluorination.

Uranium oxide can be stored for a long time without environmental risks. Depleted uranium oxide is also a raw material for the production of nuclear fuel for fast neutron reactors (in particular, mixed oxide fuel for the BN-800 reactor). Fluorine-containing products resulting from the defluorination of DUHFs – hydrofluoric (hydrofluoric) acid and anhydrous hydrogen fluoride – are sold on the market as chemical products and are used both in the nuclear and other industries.

The successful experience in operating the first W-ECP plant led to a decision to install a second W2-ECP plant and a contract to that effect contract was signed with French company Orano Projets at the end of 2019. The launch of the second installation, scheduled for 2023, will increase the capacity of the processing plant from 10,000 to 20,000 a year.

ECP produces low enriched uranium for fuel assemblies of nuclear power plants, stable and radioactive isotopes of various chemical elements, and a number of other high-tech products. It is part of Rosatom state nuclear corporation’s TVEL Fuel Company. ECP also takes DUHF from other Russian enterprises for processing, including the Angarsk Electrochemical Combine.

*Original article online at https://www.neimagazine.com/news/newsrussia-processes-100000-tons-of-depleted-uranium-hexafluoride-7938473