Enriched Uranium - Enrichment Methods - Other Techniques - Aerodynamic Processes

Aerodynamic Processes

Aerodynamic enrichment processes include the Becker jet nozzle techniques developed by E. W. Becker and associates using the LIGA process and the vortex tube separation process. These aerodynamic separation processes depend upon diffusion driven by pressure gradients, as does the gas centrifuge. In effect, aerodynamic processes can be considered as non-rotating centrifuges. Enhancement of the centrifugal forces is achieved by dilution of UF6 with hydrogen or helium as a carrier gas achieving a much higher flow velocity for the gas than could be obtained using pure uranium hexafluoride. The Uranium Enrichment Corporation of South Africa (UCOR) developed and deployed the Helikon vortex separation process based on the vortex tube and a demonstration plant was built in Brazil by NUCLEI, a consortium led by Industrias Nucleares do Brasil that used the separation nozzle process. However both methods have high energy consumption and substantial requirements for removal of waste heat; neither is currently in use.

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