Module 102 The Nuclear Fuel Cycle
MODULE 102 - The Nuclear Fuel Cycle
Identify t he sourc es and us es of ura nium.
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 counterweights.
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 lo nger prod uced, bu t are now collect ors' it ems
among those in the nuclear indu stry and other s. 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.