Gas Centrifuge

Jump to navigationJump to search

A uranium enrichment process that uses a large number of rotating cylinders in a series. These series of centrifuge machines, called trains, are interconnected to form cascades. In this process, UR6 gas is placed in a rotating drum or cylinder and rotated at high speed. This rotation creates a strong gravitational field so that the heavier gas molecules (containing U-238) move toward the outside of the cylinder and the lighter gas molecules (containing U-235) collect closer to the center. The stream that is slightly enriched in U-235 is withdrawn and fed into the next higher stage, while the slightly depleted stream is recycled back into the next lower stage. Significantly more U-235 enrichment can be obtained from a single unit gas centrifuge than from a single unit gaseous diffusion barrier.

No gas centrifuge plants are operating in the United States, however, Louisiana Energy Services (LES) and the U.S. Enrichment Corporation (USEC) have plans to submit license applications in 2002 and 2004, respectively. See Gas Centrifuge Enrichment for details.

Source: U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Sponsor: ISO/TS 22317 Societal Security