for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up
US Top News

FACTBOX: What is the nuclear fuel cycle?

(Reuters) - Iran declared fresh progress in its

nuclear program on Thursday, inaugurating its first nuclear

fuel production plant and announcing it had tested more advanced

equipment for enriching uranium.

Here are some details on what happens in the fuel cycle and

some details about the nuclear industry:

* FRONT END OF THE CYCLE:

-- Activities that constitute the front-end of the fuel

cycle include uranium exploration and mining of uranium ore.

-- Milling and refining of the ore to produce uranium

concentrate (yellow cake).

-- Production of uranium hexafluoride; isotopic enrichment

of uranium hexafluoride to meet reactor enrichment requirements

and fabricate nuclear reactor fuel.

-- Fabrication includes the conversion of uranium

hexafluoride to uranium oxide; pelletization of uranium oxide;

encapsulation of uranium oxide pellets in fuel rods.

-- Assembling fuel elements.

BACK END OF THE CYCLE:

-- Activities in the back-end of the fuel cycle include

temporary or long-term spent fuel storage;

-- Spent fuel reprocessing with recovery of plutonium and

uranium for recycling;

-- Mixed oxide fuel fabrication;

-- Radioactive waste management including treatment,

conditioning, storage, disposal and transportation associated

with moving radioactive materials to and from each operation.

* NUCLEAR INDUSTRY:

-- There are 436 nuclear power reactors in operation.

-- There are 44 reactors under construction and five nuclear

power reactors in long term shutdown.

NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS AROUND THE WORLD:

By Country No. of Units Total MW(e)

ARGENTINA 2 935

ARMENIA 1 376

BELGIUM 7 5,824

BRAZIL 2 1,766

BULGARIA 2 1,906

CANADA 18 12,577

CHINA 11 8,438

CZECH REPUBLIC 6 3,634

FINLAND 4 2,696

FRANCE 59 63,260**

GERMANY 17 20,470

HUNGARY 4 1,859

INDIA 17 3,782

JAPAN 53 45,957

SOUTH KOREA 20 17,647

LITHUANIA 1 1,185

MEXICO 2 1,300

NETHERLANDS 1 482

PAKISTAN 2 425

ROMANIA 2 1,300

RUSSIA 31 21,743

SLOVAK REPUBLIC 4 1,711

SLOVENIA 1 666

SOUTH AFRICA 2 1,800

SPAIN 8 7,450

SWEDEN 10 8,958

SWITZERLAND 5 3,238

UKRAINE 15 13,107

UNITED KINGDOM 19 10,097

U.S. 104 100,582

=============================================

Total: 436 370,120

---------------------------------------------

** France generates approximately 80 percent of its energy

from 59 nuclear power plants and extensive experience building

them.

-- The government-owned company AREVA is building a “third

generation” reactor called the European Pressurized Reactor

(EPR), and President Sarkozy has toured countries from China to

Libya promoting French nuclear expertise.

-- AREVA is currently constructing EPRs in Normandy,

Finland, and China, with the possibility of future sales to

countries such as Brazil, India, and the United Arab Emirates.

Sources: Reuters/IAEA/NTI

for-phone-onlyfor-tablet-portrait-upfor-tablet-landscape-upfor-desktop-upfor-wide-desktop-up