Innovative Vacuum Technology

Oerlikon LEYBOLD vacuum WINS double-digit million euro contract for uranium enrichment Oerlikon LEYBOLD vacuum from a global manufacturer of uranium centrifuges for nuclear power plants a vacuum technology in double-digit millions height received order. Oerlikon vacuum solutions will play a central role in a nuclear power plant, which is currently built in the United States. Oerlikon LEYBOLD vacuum will deliver proven Forevacuum pump for twelve different systems and on the specific needs of the customer provide coordinated services including installation, test operation and documentation according to the required standards. The RUVAC root pumps were modified and adapted to the environment of the system to meet the demands of the operation. This order shows once again that we are technical leaders in highly complex and sophisticated vacuum applications”, explains Dr. Martin Fairclough, CEO of Oerlikon LEYBOLD vacuum. The uranium centrifugation is not only in the modern energy industry and the civil Power generation, but also for medical and industrial purposes. The uranium isotope U-235 used in nuclear fission.

For safe and efficient operation of nuclear reactors, a U-235 proportion of 4% to 5% is required, but is only 0.7% of natural uranium U-235 content. For use in reactors uranium must be therefore mined, processed and brought to a gaseous state, for molecules with a higher U-235 content will be filtered out. This process is known as uranium enrichment, and special centrifuges are used. Yellowcake is headed under pressure through a series of more permeable membranes. Because the U-235 molecules are lighter than the U-238 molecules (a similar isotope which exists in addition to U-235), they move faster and have a higher probability, through the pores in the membrane to durchzugelangen. The UF6 gas that diffuses through the membrane, so has a higher content of U-235 as the residual gas. This Procedure is repeated in diffusion stages called Cascades.

At each stage of a compressor, a diffuser and a heat exchanger are required to derive the compression-related heat. Most recently the enriched UF6 is the cascade taken at one end, the depleted UF6 at the other end. About 1,400 of such steps are required to get a gas with a concentration of U-235 from 3% to 4%. Usually, only a slight further separation of the two isotopes takes place in the systems at each stage. Compensates for this is that the systems can handle large volumes of gas. A robust, stable vacuum is required for the procedure. Our expertise in the field of vacuum components extends not only to the vacuum components. Engineering services for the development of the process is an important part of the job. Due to our experience and international list it belongs to business everyday, to work out a system according to the requirements of American”, says CEO segment Fill Brook. Our understanding of customer needs, quality standards and regulatory framework makes a reliable partner and preferred supplier”Oerlikon LEYBOLD vacuum. Against the background of already today to book Megatrends energy production and transportation will continue to be of great importance. This applies in particular to innovations and technological developments for future energy solutions.

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