Uranium enrichment by the separation-nozzle process
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The development of reliable manufacturing methods for commercial separation elements, the successful operation of separative stages, and extensive tests performed on plant components and auxiliary systems provide the basis for the construction of a separation-nozzle demonstration plant. The performance level achieved to date characterizes the process as reliable and economically feasible. In particular, it is generally ally accepted that comparatively low investment and maintenance costs are to be expected for the separation-nozzle process.
On the other hand, the nozzle process appears to have the disadvantage of a comparatively high specific power consumption. This situation, however, by no means should be regarded as a static one, as evidently demonstrated by Figure 10. The curve shown in this diagram represents the reduction in the specific power consumption of the separation-nozzle process since 1968. The data refer to an industrial-scale plant, i.e., the compressor efficiency, the cascade efficiency, the power consumption of the auxiliary systems, and the pressure losses in the piping were taken into account. At the present state of development, the power consumption of the separation-nozzle process is still slightly higher than that of the existing U.S. gaseous-diffusion plants. However, considering the slope of the power-consumption curve, there is no doubt that a further significant reduction of the specific power consumption is to be expected.
In conclusion, it can be stated that the erection of a separation-nozzle demonstration plant in Brazil can be recognized as the implementation of an enrichment process which combines a reliable and comparatively simple technology with a high potential for further improvements.
KeywordsUranium Power Consumption Pressure Loss Plant Component Auxiliary System
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