URENCO readily acknowledges its responsibility for the safe stewardship of uranium, its by-products and the facilities used to store depleted uranium.
During the uranium enrichment process, depleted uranium hexafluoride (UF6), or 'tails', are made as a by-product. The by-product contains 30 to 50% of the natural uranium 235 concentration and therefore has the potential for re-enrichment in the future. We currently store UF6 in internationally approved transport cylinders, pending future re-enrichment or de-conversion to a form suitable for long-term storage.
In 2010, URENCO received regulatory and planning approval to develop a Tails Management Facility (TMF) at our UK site for the storage, processing and de-conversion of depleted uranium hexafluoride (UF6), or ‘tails’. Once complete, the TMF will enable us to recycle circa 5,000 tonnes of hydrogen fluoride (HF) a year for industrial use.
URENCO ChemPlants Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary, is responsible for the build and operation of the TMF which will process URENCO’s European inventory of depleted uranium by-product.
We plan to commission the TMF in 2017.