Russia's Gaseous Centrifuge Technology And Uranium Enrichment Complex
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Uit de publicatie:
RUSSIA’S GASEOUS CENTRIFUGE TECHNOLOGY AND URANIUM ENRICHMENT COMPLEX Oleg Bukharin Program on Science and Global Security Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs Princeton University January 2004 INTRODUCTION Russia’s uranium enrichment industry was established in the late 1940s to produce highly-enriched uranium (HEU) for the Soviet nuclear weapon program. In the 950s-60s, it also began manufacturing uranium for naval propulsion, research and power reactors. The production of HEU for weapons stopped in the late 1980s and the enrichment facilities currently operate to meet domestic and export requirements for enriched uranium and isotope separation services. Russia’s uranium enrichment enterprise is controlled by the Ministry of Atomic Energy (Minatom) and comprises four large enrichment complexes: the Urals Electrochemical Combine (UEKhK) in Novouralsk, the Electrochemical Plant (EKhZ) in Zelenogorsk, the Siberian Chemical Combine (SKhK) in Seversk, and the Anagrsk Electrolysis and Chemical Plant (AEKhK) in Angarsk, Irkutsk region (see Appendix A: Soviet/Russian Uranium Enrichment Sites). All four were originally established as gaseous diffusion facilities. At present, they utilize the highly-efficient centrifuge isotope separation technology which enables them to produce enriched uranium and services at a very low cost. The SKhK and AEKhK also operate industrial-scale UF6 production plants that supply the enrichment facilities with feed material. The primary enrichment facilities are supported by an array of R&D and manufacturing facilities, many of which are outside of the Minatom system (see Table 1). The enrichment sector is of critical importance to Minatom and the Russian nuclear industry. Hard currency revenues from its export operations were pivotal to Minatom’s survival during the post-Soviet economic and social crisis of the 1990s, the time of collapse of many other Soviet industries. Enrichment business will remain at the core of Minatom’s cash-earning activities. As an element of Minatom’s fuel cycle complex, the enrichment enterprise is important to the domestic nuclear power program and Russia’s exports of nuclear power technologies to foreign countries.
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