centrifuge-technology-how-it-works

HOW IT WORKS

Before naturally mined uranium can be used as fuel, it must be enriched to the point where the concentration of one isotope, Uranium-235, is high enough for the fuel to be used in a nuclear reactor.

ETC’s gas centrifuge technology uses highly efficient centrifuges, rotating at high speed. Uranium, converted into a gas, is fed into the centrifuges where it is spun at high speeds. The centrifugal forces inside mean that lighter molecules move to the centre of the centrifuge, while heavier molecules move to the outside. This allows uranium gas with a higher concentration of the lighter molecule to be drawn off.

The process is repeated a number of times to increase the concentration, while depleted gas is drawn off to be recycled in the process. The gas passes through a number of centrifuges in series, known as a cascade. Once the desired concentration is reached, the uranium is processed back into solid form, where it can be transported to a nuclear power plant for processing.

ETC’s gas centrifuge technology

ETC has developed a very efficient and reliable gas centrifuge technology, which has proven its effectiveness over many years of operation. Our technology is proven to be 50 times more energy-efficient than its main alternative, the gas diffusion process. 

entrifuge-technology-how-it-works
technology-research-development
INNOVATION

RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

As a company ETC invests 20% of its annual revenue on Research and Development, putting us in the very top tier of companies worldwide for re-investment in innovation.

FIND OUT MORE
technology-nuclear-fuel-cycle
NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE

THE PROCESS

ETC’s technology holds a key position in the nuclear fuel cycle – the process by which natural uranium is converted into fuel that can be used in a nuclear reactor to produce power.

FIND OUT MORE

INSIGHT & NEWS

insight $ news
05 September 2022

ETC goes into orbit with the Ariane 6

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space – its mission is to shape the development of the continent’s space capability and ensure that space investment continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

READ MORE
insight $ news
14 August 2022

Mourning for Stefan Kirchhoff

It is with deep sadness that we have to announce that Stefan Kirchhoff, Director of the ETC site at Jülich, Germany, passed away on 4th August. We would like to express our deepest sympathy and condolences to his family and everybody who knew him. In his passing, we have lost a great person, an outstanding leader, a colleague and a friend.

READ MORE
insight $ news
20 May 2022

How ETC’s centrifuge technology contributes to global decarbonisation

As governments and businesses around the world continue to address the many challenges of decarbonisation, ETC has undertaken a detailed study to analyse the level of carbon emissions that have been saved as a result of using the business’ enrichment technology to create virtually emissions-free nuclear power.

READ MORE