The Y-12 National Security Complex will support efforts to convert highly enriched uranium to lower-grade fuel.

Y-12-MaroonThe Y-12 National Security Complex in Tennessee will support efforts to convert highly enriched uranium to lower-grade fuel with new machinery set to begin operating next April.

The $1 million cold rolling mill would press uranium alloy into sheets with the thickness of aluminum foil, said the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration.

“Replacing the highly enriched uranium now being used in the (research reactors) with low-enriched fuel in the form of U-Mo (uranium-molybdenum) is a giant step in nonproliferation,” Y-12 nuclear technology manager Lloyd Jollay said in a statement. “It means that we’ll be removing vulnerable HEU from commerce and creating the ability to generate medical isotopes using LEU.”

“The fuel thickness requirements are important to allow the converted reactors to operate at pre-conversion performance levels by ensuring the U-235 content in the new LEU fuel is properly manufactured for each unique reactor fuel design/core configuration,” Y-12 spokeswoman Ellen Boatner said in released comments.

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Source: NTI
Photo: Y-12 National Security Complex