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Nuclear Safeguards Education Portal

Reprocessing plant

Photo related to the term with caption below

Fuel removal pond at the Thermal Oxide Reprocessing Plant, Sellafield, United Kingdom

(Source: BNFL)

An installation for the chemical separation of nuclear material from fission products, following dissolution of spent fuel. The installation may also include the associated storage, head-end (cutting and dissolution) operations, conversion and analytical sections, a waste treatment facility, and liquid and solid waste storage. Reprocessing involves the following steps: fuel receipt and storage, fuel decladding and dissolution, separation of uranium and plutonium and possibly other actinides (e.g., americium and neptunium) from fission products, separation of uranium from plutonium, and purification of uranium and plutonium. Once purified, uranium nitrate and plutonium nitrate may be converted, respectively, to UO2 and PuO2 powder at the reprocessing plant.