Technology of Fuel Cycles of Nuclear Power Stations

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Code Completion Credits Range
15TPC ZK 2 2+0
Kateřina Čubová
Department of Nuclear Chemistry

At first, the basic types of uranium ores and their classification, and physical and radiometric ore dressing methods are specified. The main attention is paid to the chemical-technological operations by means of which the products of technical grade and then of nuclear grade, as metallic U, UO2, UN, UC and UF6, are obtained. In this domain, the sol-gel processes and uranium isotopes separations are implicated. The manufacturing of fuel elements, based on metallic uranium, on tablets of UO2 or MOX fuel (UO2+PuO2), and of assemblies for basic types of nuclear reactors (LWR, FBR and HTGR) is described. The principles of spent fuel reprocessing and of radioactive wastes treatment are mentioned, too.


1. The basic knowledge of inorganic and nuclear chemistry, especially of uranium chemistry and fission processes.

2. The basic knowledge of physical chemistry, particularly of principles of reaction kinetics and chemical equilibrium states taking place in heterogeneous systems, including the knowledge of colloid chemistry principles.

3. The basic knowledge of separation processes type of liquid-liquid extraction and of solid sorbents (organic ion exchangers) application.

Syllabus of lectures:

1. Uranium in nature, the basic types of uranium ores and major criterion of their classification.

2. Mechanical and physical methods used to the pre-treatment of ores (crushing, milling, grain classification, sedimentation and filtration). Radiometric and gravity screening, flotation, thermic methods. Leaching of uranium ores (using acids or carbonates, special methods as bacteriological leaching, underground (in situ) leaching and others).

3. Recovery of uranium from leach liquors using sorption (types of ion exchangers, chemism, technological procedures and apparatus).

4. Recovery of uranium from leach liquors using solvent extraction (types of extraction agents, chemism, technological procedures and apparatus). Recovery of uranium from leach liquors using chemical procedures (precipitation) and methods based on the combination of sorption and extraction methods.

5. The preparation of the uranium compounds of nuclear grade (by application of TBP, precipitation purification methods and the preparation of UF4 and UF6).

6. The processing of metallic uranium (calciothermic and magnesiothermic reduction, pickling, vacuum refining) and the conversion of UF6 to U.

7. The processing of UO2, ceramic grade, conversion of UF6 to UO2, c.g.; UO2 tablets.

8. The processing of mixed oxides (UO2+PuO2, ThO2+UO2) and of nitrides and carbides of U and Pu.

9. Sol-gel processes (the preparation of fuels in spheres form) and the manufacturing of coated particles.

10. Uranium enrichment (principles, isotope phenomena, individual methods, criterion of enrichment process).

11. The manufacturing of fuel elements and assemblies for LWR, FR and HTGR.

12. The principles of spent fuel reprocessing and of radioactive wastes treatment.

Syllabus of tutorials:
Study Objective:

The postgraduates obtain the basic knowledge connected with the realization of fuel cycles of nuclear power stations, i.e., with the treatment of uranium ores till the technical and nuclear grade metallic and oxidic uranium products applicable to the manufacturing of fuel elements and assemblies, including the uranium isotopes separation methods and principles of reprocessing of spent fuel with subsequent recyclation of uranium and plutonium into manufacturing of fuel elements.

The postgraduates obtain the competence for assessment of : (i) technical and economical problems connected with the manufacturing of nuclear fuels, (ii) convenience of the realization of nuclear fuel cycle.

Study materials:

Key references:

Wilson P.D. (edt.): The Nuclear Fuel Cycle - From Ore to Waste. Oxford University Press, Oxford 1996.

Recommended references:

1. Benedict M., Pigford T., Levi H.: Nuclear Chemical Engineering, McGraw Hill Book Co., New York, 1981.

Time-table for winter semester 2020/2021:
Time-table is not available yet
Time-table for summer semester 2020/2021:
Time-table is not available yet
The course is a part of the following study plans:
Data valid to 2021-04-11
For updated information see http://bilakniha.cvut.cz/en/predmet11330105.html