Nuclear fuel is material used in nuclear power stations to produce heat to power turbines. Heat is created when nuclear fuel undergoes nuclear fission.
Seattle, WA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/30/2019 -- Most nuclear fuels contain heavy fissile actinide elements that are capable of undergoing and sustaining nuclear fission. The three most relevant fissile isotopes are Uranium-233, Uranium-235 and Plutonium-239. When the unstable nuclei of these atoms are hit by a slow-moving neutron, they split, creating two daughter nuclei and two or three more neutrons. These neutrons then go on to split more nuclei. This creates a self-sustaining chain reaction that is controlled in a nuclear reactor, or uncontrolled in a nuclear weapon.
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In this report, the global Nuclear Fuels market is valued at USD XX million in 2017 and is expected to reach USD XX million by the end of 2025, growing at a CAGR of XX% between 2017 and 2025.
Leading Manufacturers Analysis in Polymer Solar Cell Market: ARMZ Uranium Holding Company, Cameco, Energy Resources of Australia, BHP Billiton, Canalaska Uranium, KazAtomProm, Berkeley Energia, Globex Mining Enterprises, International Montoro Resources, China National Nuclear Corporation, Japan, Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation, China General Nuclear Power, Denison Mines, Eagle Plains Resources among other that are mentioned in this report.
On the basis of product, this report displays the production, revenue, price, market share and growth rate of each type, primarily split into:
By Type: Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel, Uranium Fuel, Other.
By Application: Nuclear Power Plants, Nuclear Research Labs, Other.
Fuel fabrication plants are facilities that convert enriched uranium into fuel for nuclear reactors. For light water reactors, uranium is received from an enrichment plant in solid form. It is then converted into a gas and chemically converted into a uranium dioxide powder. This powder is then pressed into pellets and packed into fuel assemblies. A mixed oxide fuel can also be created when the uranium powder is packed along with plutonium oxide. The hazards present at fuel fabrication facilities—mainly chemical and radiological—are similar to the hazards at enrichment plants. These facilities generally pose a low risk to the public.
When used in a reactor, the fuels used can have a variety of different forms a metal, an alloy, or some sort of oxide. Most nuclear reactors are fueled with a compound known as uranium dioxide. This uranium dioxide is put together in a fuel assembly and inserted into the nuclear reactor—where it can stay for several months or up to a few years. While in the reactor the fuel undergoes nuclear fission and releases energy. This released energy is used to generate electricity. Neutrons released during the fission process allow for a fission chain reaction to occur, allowing energy to be generated continually. The fuel is removed from the reactor after large amounts of the fuel—whether it is uranium-235 or plutonium-239—have undergone fission. The "used" nuclear fuel is known as spent or irradiated fuel. After use, the fuel must be cooled for a few years as it is extremely hot.
The spent fuel is placed in large, deep pools of water that act as a coolant and a radiation shield. The coolant property allows the water to remove the decay heat and the shielding abilities protect workers from the radioactivity of the fuel. After cooling, the fuel can be re-purposed or sent to storage depending on regulations.
For more information on how spent fuel is dealt with, see nuclear waste. For a more in depth explanation on how exactly fuel is obtained and used, see the nuclear fuel cycle.
Nuclear reactors are powered by powdered uranium dioxide that has been compressed into small pellets, shown in Figure 1. However, a power plant requires many of these pellets to run. Thus large numbers of these pellets are bundled into a fuel rod. A single uranium fuel pellet, only as big as a fingertip, contains as much energy as 481 cubic meters of natural gas, 807 kilograms of coal or 564 liters of oil. These rods are composed of numerous pellets of fissionable uranium fuel and can be several meters in length and about a centimeter in diameter. Then several of these rods, generally a dozen or more, are held together by strong metallic brackets in a fuel assembly. These rods are not bunched tightly together, rather there are several millimeters between each rod to allow coolant to flow between them. The tubes containing the pellets of uranium are generally composed of zirconium.
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