A discussion about the nature and uses of uranium

Bombarding Cf by 10B or 11B and of Am with 18O Like the lanthanidesthe actinides form a family of elements with similar properties.

A discussion about the nature and uses of uranium

Gas centrifuge A cascade of gas centrifuges at a U. Each cylinder's rotation creates a strong centripetal force so that the heavier gas molecules containing U move tangentially toward the outside of the cylinder and the lighter gas molecules rich in U collect closer to the center.

It requires much less energy to achieve the same separation than the older gaseous diffusion process, which it has largely replaced and so is the current method of choice and is termed second generation. It has a separation factor per stage of 1.

Zippe centrifuge[ edit ] Diagram of the principles of a Zippe-type gas centrifuge with U represented in dark blue and U represented in light blue The Zippe centrifuge is an improvement on the standard gas centrifuge, the primary difference being the use of heat.

The bottom of the rotating cylinder is heated, producing convection currents that move the U up the cylinder, where it can be collected by scoops.

Uranium Geology

This improved centrifuge design is used commercially by Urenco to produce nuclear fuel and was used by Pakistan in their nuclear weapons program. Laser techniques[ edit ] Laser processes promise lower energy inputs, lower capital costs and lower tails assays, hence significant economic advantages.

Several laser processes have been investigated or are under development. Atomic vapor laser isotope separation AVLIS [ edit ] Atomic vapor laser isotope separation employs specially tuned lasers [14] to separate isotopes of uranium using selective ionization of hyperfine transitions.

A discussion about the nature and uses of uranium

The technique uses lasers tuned to frequencies that ionize U atoms and no others. The positively charged U ions are then attracted to a negatively charged plate and collected.

Molecular laser isotope separation MLIS [ edit ] Molecular laser isotope separation uses an infrared laser directed at UF6exciting molecules that contain a U atom.

A second laser frees a fluorine atom, leaving uranium pentafluoridewhich then precipitates out of the gas. After a protracted development process involving U. SILEX has been projected to be an order of magnitude more efficient than existing production techniques but again, the exact figure is classified.

Many thousands of these small foils would be combined in an enrichment unit. The X-ray based LIGA manufacturing process was originally developed at the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, Germany, to produce nozzles for isotope enrichment.

What are the key benefits of Thorium?

Becker and associates using the LIGA process and the vortex tube separation process. These aerodynamic separation processes depend upon diffusion driven by pressure gradients, as does the gas centrifuge.

They in general have the disadvantage of requiring complex systems of cascading of individual separating elements to minimize energy consumption.

A discussion about the nature and uses of uranium

In effect, aerodynamic processes can be considered as non-rotating centrifuges. Enhancement of the centrifugal forces is achieved by dilution of UF6 with hydrogen or helium as a carrier gas achieving a much higher flow velocity for the gas than could be obtained using pure uranium hexafluoride.

The Uranium Enrichment Corporation of South Africa UCOR developed and deployed the continuous Helikon vortex separation cascade for high production rate low enrichment and the substantially different semi-batch Pelsakon low production rate high enrichment cascade both using a particular vortex tube separator design, and both embodied in industrial plant.

However all methods have high energy consumption and substantial requirements for removal of waste heat; none are currently still in use. Electromagnetic isotope separation[ edit ] Main article: Calutron Schematic diagram of uranium isotope separation in a calutron shows how a strong magnetic field is used to redirect a stream of uranium ions to a target, resulting in a higher concentration of uranium represented here in dark blue in the inner fringes of the stream.

In the electromagnetic isotope separation process EMISmetallic uranium is first vaporized, and then ionized to positively charged ions. The cations are then accelerated and subsequently deflected by magnetic fields onto their respective collection targets.Uranium, the 92nd element in the periodic table, is a heavy metal with a variety of uses.

Uranium was first discovered by Martin Heinrich Klaproth in but rose to prominence in with the discovery of nuclear fission, in which an isotope of uranium, U, is split at the atomic level, releasing a great amount of energy.

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Depleted uranium - Wikipedia