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Russian factory launches new centrifuges for uranium enrichment

December 28, 2017, 18:48 UTC+3 YEKATERINBURG

A gas centrifuge operates on a separator principle

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© Donat Sorokin/TASS

YEKATERINBURG, December 28. /TASS/. New-generation gas centrifuge for uranium enrichment came on stream at the Urals Electrochemical Factory [Novouralsk, Sverdlovsk region] on Thursday, the press service of the factory told TASS.

"The enterprise successfully launched five sections of a technological unit equipped with ninth-generation gas centrifuges," the report said. According to Mikhail Denisov, the chief of the technological shop floor, "the streamlining was done in a routine mode."

The factory did the test launches of the sections on December 12 and December 15 as part of a comprehensive modernization program. In addition to the main equipment, the upgrading also embraced the system of power supplies, control, and emergency protection.

A gas centrifuge operates on a separator principle. The velocity of rotation inside the mechanism totals 1,500 rotations per second, thus separating the lighter Uranium 235 from Uranium 238.

"The encouraging results of the latest measurements have shown the high quality of ninth-generation modernized centrifuges, their resource reliability and stability of the separating function," the press service said.

The Urals Electrochemical Factory is a subsidiary of the joint-stock company TVEL, which in its turn is a subsidiary of the Russia’s state atomic energy corporation Rosatom. It manufactured the first batch of enriched uranium with the aid of diffusion method on November 11, 1949.

Its separation unit has been using the technologies based on centrifuges as of 1962.

The factory boasts concentrating 48% of Russian capacity and 20% of the world capacity for the separation of uranium isotopes and fulfills 80% of all the foreign customer orders for enrichment of uranium.

The joint-stock company TVEL was set up by President Boris Yeltsin’s decree on September 12, 1996.

TVEL embraces the enterprises for production of nuclear fuel, conversion and enrichment of uranium, and manufacturing of centrifuges, as well as a number of research and development organizations. It is the exclusive supplier of nuclear fuel to Russian nuclear plants and the supplier of fuel for 78 power-generating units in fifteen countries.

In addition, TVEL supplies nuclear fuel for research reactors in nine countries of the world and for transport reactors of the Russian nuclear-powered fleet.

One in each six power producing reactors in the world works on fuel produced by TVEL.

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