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Nuclear fuel

Nuclear fuel

Ultracentrifuges for uranium enrichment

ctmspUltracentrifuges for uranium enrichmentctmsp

The enriched uranium used in the production of nuclear fuel has started being produced on an industrial scale by state-owned company, Indústrias Nucleares do Brasil (INB) at its plant in Resende, in southern Rio de Janeiro State. By the end of the year production should have reached 12 tons and it is expected that by 2012 all the enriched uranium used at Angra 1 and 20% of the fuel for Angra 2 will be produced by INB. Authorization for the initial operation was granted by the National Nuclear Energy Commission on January 5, but only after inspections had been carried out by Brazilian observers and by the International Atomic Energy Agency did the plant receive the go-ahead to begin producing. Until now Brazil has exported concentrated uranium to Canada and bought the enriched uranium from a consortium of European countries. The concentrate needs to be converted into a gaseous state before separation of the uranium particles by a process involving ultracentrifuges. The technology for enriching uranium was developed by the Marine Technology Center in São Paulo (CTMSP) and by the Institute of Energy and Nuclear Research (Pesquisa FAPESP, edition 96).