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nuclear fuel mining and fabrication (and contamination)[edit]

Companies and fuel processing plants[edit]

Plants in the USA[edit]

Nuclear Fuel Services Erwin, TN

Erwin plant

USEC Paducah, KY

Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant
Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant

Decomissioned plants[edit]

Fernald Feed Materials Production Center Fernald, OH

Fabrication process[edit]

For use as nuclear fuel, enriched uranium hexafloride is converted into uranium dioxide (UO2) powder that is then processed into pellet form. The pellets are then fired in a high temperature sintering furnace to create hard, ceramic pellets of enriched uranium. The cylindrical pellets then undergo a grinding process to achieve a uniform pellet size. The pellets are stacked, according to each nuclear reactor core's design specifications, into tubes of corrosion-resistant metal alloy. The tubes are sealed to contain the fuel pellets: these tubes are called fuel rods. The finished fuel rods are grouped in special fuel assemblies that are then used to build up the nuclear fuel core of a power reactor.

The metal used for the tubes depends on the design of the reactor. Stainless steel was used in the past, but most reactors now use zirconium. For the most common types of reactors, boiling water reactors (BWR) and pressurized water reactors (PWR), the tubes are assembled into bundles[9] with the tubes spaced precise distances apart. These bundles are then given a unique identification number, which enables them to be tracked from manufacture through use and into disposal.

Nuclear power plants[edit]

US nuclear power plant operating status[edit]

{in progress} |group1 = NRC Region I

Name!!NRC region!!status

|group2 = NRC Region II
(South) |list2 =

|group3 = NRC Region III
(Midwest) |list3 =

|group4 = NRC Region IV
(West) |list4 =

|group5 = Closed |list5 =

Miscellaneous information on nuclear incidents[edit]

(this information needs to be verified by a confirming source) One incident involved the transport of radioactive waste from other nuclear power plants to Shearon Harris for storage. The Brunswick Nuclear Generating Station and, prior to 2005, the H. B. Robinson Nuclear Generating Station shipped spent fuel to Shearon Harris six times a year.[1] This process involves loading shipping casks onto heavily-guarded trains and trucks. In 2002, between one and two "inmates on work release" accidentally boarded a train that was carrying nuclear waste to Shearon Harris.


  1. ^ "Spent Fuel - Progress Energy". Progress Energy Inc. Retrieved 2009-12-31. 
  2. ^ Waren, Jim (2002-04-30). "Security Breach on Nuclear Waste Train. Inmates Jump Wrong Train, Revealing Vulnerability of CP&L Shipments". Nuclear Information and Resource Service. Retrieved 2007-10-18.