DOE Approves DUF6 Conversion Facility

Workers inspect DUF6 cylinders at Paducah (Image: DOE)

Workers inspect DUF6 cylinders at Paducah (Image: DOE)

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)  awarded Mid-America Conversion Services a five-year contract in September 2016 to operate depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) facilities, located near Paducah, Kentucky and Piketon, Ohio.  The contract also allow them to manage cylinder-storage yards at the DOE's Portsmouth and Paducah gaseous diffusion plant sites. The Portsmouth and Paducah gaseous diffusion enrichment plants ceased production operations in 2001 and 2013, respectively.

The DOE has an inventory of about 700,000 tonnes of DUF6, a by-product from the gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment process. The DUF6 conversion plants convert the material into depleted uranium oxide for reuse or disposal and aqueous hydrofluoric acid for industrial use.

Under the contract, Mid-America Conversion Services will also provide maintenance services for the conversion facilities and associated equipment, dispose of end products, and conduct surveillance and maintenance of the cylinder storage yards.

The conversion plants were previously operated by BWXT Conversion Services.  Mid-America Conversion Services is a joint venture of Atkins, Westinghouse and Fluor. (World Nuclear News, 2/6/2017) [DUF6 Guide]