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Two House committees are going to probe a controversial Russian uranium deal approved by the Obama administration. The deal gave Russia control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the U.S.




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The Russian atomic energy agency, Rosatom, took control of the Canadian company Uranium One, which had uranium-mining stakes that stretched from Central Asia to the American West. The deal made Rosatom one of the world's largest uranium producers, per NYT, and brought Vladimir Putin closer to his goal of becoming one of the world's major atomic energy players.


Another important Manhattan Project site was located at Oak Ridge, Tennessee. By this time, the Manhattan Project was pursuing both a uranium and a plutonium based atomic bomb. Oak Ridge was thus the home of the uranium enrichment plants, K-25, Y-12, and S-50, and the pilot plutonium production reactor, the X-10 Graphite Reactor. Equally important was the site at Hanford, Washington, where the full-scale plutonium production plant, the B Reactor, was constructed, and was eventually joined by other reactors.


In 2018, when inter-Korean and US-DPRK diplomacy was in full swing, operations at Yongbyon had slowed considerably. While there were indications that uranium operations (both conversion and enrichment) continued throughout the diplomatic process, the plutonium production and separation had stopped, and the large site appeared to be in caretaker status.


It was not until February 2021 that the first indications of plutonium operations resuming were observed. This included reactivation of the Thermal (Steam) Plant associated with the Radiochemical Laboratories (RCL), which is where plutonium reprocessing occurs. That summer, water discharge into the Kuryong River indicated that the 5 MWe Reactor had a new uranium core and was starting to produce plutonium once again.


There were indications that uranium enrichment continued throughout the period of US-DPRK diplomacy (2018-2019), including the occasional emissions coming from the UO2 production building.[1] A few improvements have been made around UEP as well. On the centrifuge halls, the cooling units were removed in August 2021, but progress on replacing them remains unclear.


UO2 production could be an intermediate step in manufacturing fuel for the 5 MWe Reactor or uranium hexafluoride (UF6) for the feed of the UEP, or both. However, the actual manufacturing of both the reactor fuel and UF6 takes place elsewhere.


The rocks range from quartz-pebble conglomerates to pebbly sandstones to apparent granulestones. K-feldspar granules are visible, as are detrital pyrite sand grains and black specks of apparently detrital uraninite (UO2 - uranium dioxide sand grains). The sediments were deposited in an ancient braided river system.


Geiger counter-wise, these rocks are "hot" (= radioactive). Iron oxide-coated joint surfaces are hotter - they have concentrations of remobilized uranium minerals. Some chunks of yellowish-colored, secondary uranium minerals are present at the site.


Centrus Energy is a trusted supplier of enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants in the United States and around the world. With world-class technical and engineering capabilities, Centrus is advancing the next generation of centrifuge technologies so that America can restore its domestic uranium enrichment capability in the future.


Ivy MikeTest:MikeTime:19:14:59.4 31 October 1952 (GMT)07:14:59.4 1 November 1952 (local)Location:Elugelab ("Flora") Island, Enewetak AtollTest Height and Type:Surface burstYield:10.4 MtThe device detonated in the Mike ("m" for "megaton") test, called the Sausage, was the first "true" H-Bomb ever tested, that is - the first thermonuclear device built upon the Teller-Ulam principles of staged radiation implosion. The device was designed by the Panda Committee directed by J. Carson Mark at Los Alamos (Teller declined to play a role in its development).The 10.4 megaton device was a two stage device using a TX-5 fission bomb as the primary stage, and a secondary stage consisting of liquid deuterium fusion fuel stored in a cylindrical Dewar (thermos) flask. Running down the center of the Dewar was a plutonium "spark plug" rod to ignite the fusion reaction. The Dewar was surrounded by a natural uranium pusher/tamper weighing more than 5 metric tons. The entire assembly was housed in an enormous steel casing, 80 inches wide and 244 inches long, with walls 10-12 inches thick, the largest single forging made up to that time. The inside surface of the casing was lined with sheets of lead and polyethylene to form the radiation channel that conducted heat from the primary to the secondary. The entire device weighed 82 tons.The enormous explosion was the 4th largest device ever tested by the U.S. 77% (8 megatons) of the yield was due to fast fission of the natural uranium pusher/tamper, with remainder (2.4 megatons) coming directly from fusion of the deuterium fuel. The island the test device was installed on, Elugelab (code named Flora), was entirely destroyed. The resulting crater was 6240 ft across and 164 ft deep. High levels of radiation blanketed much of the atoll following the test.Preparations for the ShotOutside the Mike shot cab (34 K)357x434, 46 KThe Sausage is being prepared for the test by welding "light pipes" to it, that will permit measurement of the emission of light from specific locations on the surface of the casing.338x250, 15 KThe Sausage in its shot cabClick for big image (640x474, 43 K)Click for biggest image (939x695, 85 K)640x466, 55 KThe Sausage in its shot cabClick for big image (1024x746, 128 K)Click for biggest image (1600x1166, 413 K)Below Marshall Holloway, who directed the Sausage preparation and the Mike Shot is seen posing in front of the device (center).The Sausage and Holloway (58 K)Below is a view along the atoll island ring, showing the shot cab on Elugelab and the instrumentation set-ups on the neighboring islands of Teiter, Bogairikk, and Bogon. The 9000 foot long causeway linking the islands together is the "Krause-Ogle box", a 9 foot square aluminum-sheathed plywood tunnel filled with helium ballonets. This box allowed gamma and neutron radiation from the blast to travel with little absorption to test instruments on Bogon.Mike shot set up along the atoll (92 K).DetonationThe Mike Fireball383x480, 56 KMike FireballClick for big image (640x480, 83 K)Click for biggest image (1024x768, 192 K)The mushroom cloud climbed to 57,000 feet in only 90 seconds, entering the stratosphere. One minute later it reached 108,000 feet, eventually stabilizing at a ceiling of 120,000 feet. Half an hour after the test the mushroom stretched 60 miles across, with the base of the mushroom head joining the stem at 45,000 feet.Two slightly different versions of the same mushroom cloud imageEach version has its own unique advantages in detail and esthetics312x250, 16 KIvy Mike mushroom cloudClick for big image (640x513, 32 K)Click for bigger image (1024x820, 60 K)Click for biggest image (1477x1183, 109 K)335x250, 17 KIvy Mike mushroom cloudClick for big image (640x478, 24 K)Click for bigger image (1024x765, 71 K)Click for biggest image (1600x1195, 296 K)Three slightly different versions of another mushroom cloud imageEach version has its own unique advantages in detail and esthetics419x250, 20 KIvy Mike mushroom cloudClick for big image (640x382, 27 K)Click for bigger image (1024x611, 65 K)Click for biggest image (1600x954, 143 K)Mike Test MovieRequires the Flash browser plugin (version 7+) from Adobe.


The team from NERS included Prof. Igor Jovanovic and then PhD student Lauren Finney. (Lauren has since received her PhD.) She was a Seaborg Institute Summer Intern at LLNL during the summer of 2019. It was during her internships that she did much of the initial testing, experimental set-up, and data analysis on laser ablation of uranium in different oxygen environments, which would become the basis of future experiments for the final publication.


Trading uranium for enrichment services. One flexibility in the search for alternative sources of supply is that uranium mining and uranium enrichment activities can be traded off against each other to a considerable extent. Nuclear utilities take advantage of this flexibility to minimize their costs. But to understand how the tradeoff works, one must look at the details.


During 2017-2021, US nuclear utilities bought an annual average of 17,500 tonnes of natural uranium and 16,600 tSWUs, including 2,400 tonnes of uranium and 3,300 tSWUs per year from Russia. For their part, during 2016-2020, EU utilities bought an annual average of 13,300 tonnes of natural uranium and 11,300 tSWUs, including 2,800 tonnes of uranium and 3,400 tSWU per year from Russia. Given that the imports from Russia are in the range of 10 to 30 percent, both Russian natural uranium and SWUs could, in principle, be replaced by purchases from other suppliers.


In the short term, however, it may be easier to increase purchases of uranium than to buy more enrichment work from other suppliers. It would, in fact, be possible to produce more low-enriched uranium with the same amount of enrichment work by extracting less uranium 235 per tonne of natural uranium. But maintaining the same level of uranium 235 in the fuel product would increase natural uranium requirements.


For instance, for a typical enrichment level of 4.4 percent (see Figure 1), the ratio of uranium and SWUs bought by US nuclear utilities in 2017-21 corresponds to an average depleted uranium assay of 0.23 percent where 24 percent of the SWUs came from Russia. Reducing US utility SWU purchases by 24 percent would require increasing the assay of the associated depleted uranium to 0.3 percent. In turn, this would result in an increased annual uranium requirement of about 3,000 tonnes of natural uranium per year. Similarly, reducing EU utility purchases of SWUs by the amount bought from Russia could be accomplished by increasing the average depleted uranium assay associated with EU enrichment from 0.216% to 0.285%, which would require EU utilities to buy 1,900 more tonnes of natural uranium annually. 041b061a72


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