Module 102 The Nuclear Fuel Cycle
II. MODULE 102 - The Nuclear Fuel Cycle
Identify the sources and uses of uranium.
Identify the various processes involved in the
nuclear fuel cycle.
Importance of Uranium
Uranium is a naturally occurring element used primarily
for producing energy with nuclear reactors and
developing nuclear weapons. It is also used for armor
plating (depleted uranium), radiation shielding, and
Historically, uranium was used for hundreds of years to
color glass and as a glaze for tile and pottery. Bright
orange "Fiesta-ware" dinner plates were prized for their
color without any awareness of their radioactivity. These
plates are no longer produced, but are now collectors'
items among those in the nuclear industry and others.
Typically, the dose rate is about 5 mrem/hr (0.05 mSv/hr)
on contact with these plates.
The original discovery of radioactivity involved uranium.
In 1896, Henri Becquerel discovered that uranium would
cause photographic film to become fogged because of
radioactive emissions. Some of these emissions were even
more penetrating that the "X rays" that Wilhelm Roentgen
had discovered a year earlier.