Uranium hexafluoride (UHF) is the only known volatile uranium compound that can be used in modern technologies of diffusion and centrifuge enrichment of uranium with the isotope U-235.
Uranium hexafluoride depleted with the U-235 isotope (DUHF) is formed as a by-product during the isotope enrichment of uranium.
DUHF has the first hazard class, is corrosive and tends to hydrolysis.
By the present time, the depleted uranium hexafluoride has been accumulated in the Russian Federation in quantities of up to 1,000,000 tons. DUHF is packed in steel containers and stored in outdoor platforms of isotope separation plants of TVEL JSC.
At the same time, DUHF is a highly toxic corrosive substance, the long-term storage of which may pose a threat to the environment.
New Chemical Products LLC has developed a method for processing DUHF in a flame of hydrogen-containing fuel and an oxygen-containing oxidant to produce uranium oxides and hydrogen fluoride.
Since 2015, New Chemical Products LLC receives grant funding from the Skolkovo Foundation aimed at solving the problem of DUHF processing.
Anhydrous hydrogen fluoride is a demanded product of the chemical industry used in the nuclear fuel cycle and in organic synthesis.
Triuranium octoxide is a solid insoluble in water non-volatile product with significantly lower storage costs than DUHF. Depleted triuranium octoxide is in demand in the production of MOX fuel for fast neutron reactors, and its storage can remain safe for the environment for a long time.
“The regeneration of fluorine from DUHF by the proposed method will allow to close the nuclear fuel cycle by fluorine and exclude the import of strategic natural fluorine-containing raw material, calcium difluoride, which is necessary for the production of hydrogen fluoride”