Depleted uranium – uranium in which the abundance of the isotope 235U is less than that occurring in natural uranium. Reactor Physics
Definition by IAEA: Depleted uranium – uranium in which the abundance of the isotope 235U is less than that occurring in natural uranium, e.g. uranium in spent fuel from natural uranium fuelled reactors and tails from uranium enrichment processesIAEA/NVS/3
Naturally-occurring uranium contains 0.72% of the 235U
isotope. The remaining 99.28% is mostly the 238U
isotope which is a fissionable isotope
, but is not a fissile isotope
. Most reactors require uranium to be enriched from 0.7% to higher concentrations. The process of increasing the concentration of one isotope relative to another is called “enrichment.”
After the enrichment the enriched ‘product’ containing a higher concentration of 235U which will be used to make nuclear fuel (e.g. PWRs and BWRs require 3% – 5% of 235U), and the ‘tails’ containing a lower concentration of 235U (e.g. 0.2-.0.3 of 235U), and known as depleted uranium (DU). Depleted uranium is also produced during fuel burnup and is typically found in spent fuel elements.
We hope, this article, Depleted Uranium, helps you. If so, give us a like in the sidebar. Main purpose of this website is to help the public to learn some interesting and important information about physics and reactor physics.