What is the Nuclear Fuel

Kian Petroleum Company is an international specialized petrochemical company producing various petroleum products such as Nuclear fuel

Nuclear fuel

Nuclear fuel is the fuel that is used in a nuclear reactor to sustain a nuclear chain reaction. These fuels are fissile, and the most common nuclear fuels are the radioactive metals uranium-235 and plutonium-239. All processes involved in obtaining, refining, and using this fuel make up a cycle known as the nuclear fuel cycle

Uranium-235 is used as a fuel in different concentrations. Some reactors, such as the CANDU reactor, can use natural uranium with uranium-235 concentrations of only 0.7%, while other reactors require the uranium to be slightly enriched to levels of 3% to 5%. Plutonium-239 is produced and used in reactors (specifically fast breeder reactors) that contain significant amounts of uranium-238. It can also be recycled and used as a fuel in thermal reactors. Current research is being done to investigate how thorium-232 can be used as a fuel

Production

Fuel fabrication plants are facilities that convert enriched uranium into fuel for nuclear reactors. For light water reactors, uranium is received from an enrichment plant in solid form. It is then converted into a gas and chemically converted into a uranium dioxide powder. This powder is then pressed into pellets and packed into fuel assemblies. A mixed oxide fuel can also be created when the uranium powder is packed along with plutonium oxide. The hazards present at fuel fabrication facilities—mainly chemical and radiological—are similar to the hazards at enrichment plants. These facilities generally pose a low risk to the public

Fuel Assembly

Nuclear reactors are powered by powdered uranium dioxide that has been compressed into small pellets, shown in Figure 1. However, a power plant requires many of these pellets to run. Thus large numbers of these pellets are bundled into a fuel rod.A single uranium fuel pellet, only as big as a fingertip, contains as much energy as 481 cubic meters of natural gas, 807 kilograms of coal or 564 liters of oil. These rods are composed of numerous pellets of fissionable uranium fuel and can be several meters in length and about a centimeter in diameter. Then several of these rods, generally a dozen or more, are held together by strong metallic brackets in a fuel assembly. These rods are not bunched tightly together, rather there are several millimeters between each rod to allow coolant to flow between them. The tubes containing the pellets of uranium are generally composed of zirconium

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