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Centrus Gets NRC Green Light to Introduce Uranium Into HALEU Nuclear Enrichment Cascade

Sonal Patel of Power reports that Centrus has received the regulatory green light to begin uranium enrichment.

The C3 Take
  • Centrus is working with the Department of Energy to produce high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU), which is needed to power many advanced nuclear reactors, in the United States.
  • The U.S. currently relies on Russia for a large share of its HALEU needs, which threatens energy innovation and security.
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has given Centrus the go-ahead to introduce uranium into its novel enrichment centrifuge, a step that brings the U.S. closer to having a domestic supply of HALEU.

“Centrus’s American Centrifuge cascade uses gas centrifuge machines, which feed uranium hexafluoride (UF6)—heated to a gaseous state—into a rotor inside the centrifuge machine. A rotor spinning at high speed inside a steel casing uses centrifugal force to concentrate the heavier U-238 isotopes at the outer wall of the rotor and the lighter U-235 isotopes toward the rotor center. The streams are then fed to the next machines in a ‘cascade’ to achieve the desired level of enrichment. Centrus will use a 4.95% LEU feed material for its planned HALEU 16 AC100M-centrifuge cascade. It suggests roughly 85% of the separative work units (SWU)—a measure of enrichment needed to produce HALEU—is already contained in the LEU feed material.”

Read the full article here.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

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