Module 102 The Nuclear Fuel Cycle
At this stage in the nuclear fuel cycle, the
yellowcake is converted into uranium hexafluoride
(UF6) for enrichment. This is accomplished by:
a. Conversion of yellowcake to pure uranium
trioxide (UO3), called "orange oxide" or "orange
salt," by solvent extraction and follow-up
b. Conversion of UO3 to uranium dioxide UO2.
c. Conversion of UO2 to uranium tetrafluoride
(UF4) by hydrofluorination (addition of
hydrogen fluoride gas). This product is called
d. Reacting the UF4 with fluorine gas (F2) to form
uranium hexafluoride (UF6), which is a volatile
form ready for enrichment. The UF6 is a solid at
room temperature but readily becomes a gas
when heated above 56°C.