Radiological Safety Training for Uranium Facilities
Module 102 The Nuclear Fuel Cycle
Centrifugal separation is based on heavier compounds migrating to the
outside when spun at a high rate of speed.
The uranium left over from the enrichment process is mostly 238U, with a
reduced amount of 235U (usually 0.2% by weight). This byproduct is called
"depleted uranium" and has additional uses such as radiation shielding, armor
plating, and ammunition.
During World War II, uranium work was secret and code names were used for
the different forms of uranium. Natural uranium was named "Tuballoy," a name
that grew out of a cover story that the Allies were investigating alloys for high-
quality tubing. Highly enriched uranium was then named "Oralloy" for "Oak
Ridge Alloy," sometimes abbreviated to "Oy." Depleted uranium was once
called depletalloy, but more commonly was called "D-38" since it consists
mostly of 238U. These historical names are sometimes still used within the
The last step in the nuclear fuel cycle is changing the enriched uranium into an
appropriate form for fabrication. The fabrication process differs depending on
the application. For fabrication of fuel elements, the process generally includes
the following steps.
Uranium dioxide (UO2) is produced by reacting UF6 with water and then
with a hydroxide salt.