Trash or high-tech raw materials
The super-modern nuclear power plants erected in Russia and other states make it possible to significantly reduce harmful emissions into the atmosphere, create hundreds of thousands of jobs and raise education in these countries to a new level. But raw materials for them – uranium, the thing is quite rare, and its explored reserves around the world are rapidly reduced. For example, as of January 1, 2000, the explored uranium reserves worth up to $ 40 per kg were 1,254,000 tons, which, with annual consumption of 65,000 tons, would be enough for approximately 25 years, that is, we were left only five years.
In 2018, the volume of uranium production amounted to 53,500 tons, and the total consumption for nuclear power plants, transport nuclear power plants, research reactors and special purpose plants – 64,457 tons. Exit known – secondary processing of fuel and worked dumps.
Construction of nuclear power plants – high-tech and strategic business, and Russia in it leads – Today we occupy 70% of the world’s world market for foreign construction of nuclear power plants. This implies that we must supply these power plants, as well as their own nuclear fuel. Therefore, the provision of uranium raw materials is important for us not only in the defense sense, but also a purely economic. Until 2030, Rosatom projects about 70-75 percent are provided with their own raw materials with low costs – these are its own production and development of foreign assets. The remaining 25% -30% is ensured by the import of foreign raw materials, including depleted uranium hexafluoride (OGFU).
Waste or raw materials
The next news of the importation into Russia "600 tons of radioactive garbage" – just about the import of OGF. Uranium hexafluoride (UF6) plays a key role in the nuclear fuel cycle as the main substance suitable for the separation of Isotopes 235U and 238U. And the only natural isotope of uranium, in which self-sustaining chain nuclear reaction is possible, is 235U, and it is necessary for modern nuclear power. In the composition of natural uranium it contains 0.7205%,
The technological chain of obtaining fuel for a nuclear power plant looks like this: from natural uranium hexafluoride is obtained, which is enriched by 235U isotope, from which fuel is made, and the residue remains depleted uranium hexafluoride. This OGFU can be buried, and you can recycle.
In a large part of both our and foreign stocks, the OGFU contains such a number of 55U isotope, which makes it economically justified its reuse as raw materials for the production of fuel for thermal reactors, although the economy of the OGFU’s recessation in each individual case will be determined by the ratio of the price of natural uranium prices on the world Market and costs for rectifies 235U from OGFU.
According to our legislation, radioactive waste is "not subject to further use materials and substances". Due to the high efficiency of the modern our gas-centrifuge enrichment technology, the equivalent of natural uranium of different brands, developed from the OGFU in our dividing enterprises, has an attractive value in comparison with the global price for natural uranium and therefore used in the manufacture of fuel for nuclear power plants. Moreover, all world energy moves towards the transition to a closed nuclear fuel cycle – continuous technological redistribution, from uranium mining to final disposal of radioactive waste. Considering the reduction of the warehouse stocks of uranium. The need for a secondary source of uranium, which is the OGFU, will only increase. Because it is simply incorrect to say that Russia is imported "radioactive garbage.
Another question is whether there is an alternative to nuclear power, which we will talk about in the following articles. Although all of our life is possible only due to the most powerful thermonuclear reactor, which hangs over our head all day – our sun. Probably this is the answer.