uranium enrichment company urenco has today held a ceremony to mark the official opening of its tails management facility (tmf) at capenhurst in the uk. the tmf will treat depleted uranium tails, a by-product of the enrichment process, by converting them from uranium hexafluoride into more chemically stable uranium oxide.
urenco's board approved the construction of the facility, comprising a tails deconversion facility and a number of associated storage, maintenance and residue processing facilities, in 2009. in 2010, urenco received regulatory and planning approval to build the facility. by march 2014 the company was anticipating operations to begin by the end of 2015. this date was subsequently revised to 2017 and then to 2018, after construction delays.
some 55,000 cubic meters of concrete and 7300 tonnes of steel were used in the construction of the tmf.
today's ceremony was attended by senior representatives of government, industry and the local community.
urenco subsidiary, urenco chemplants limited, is responsible for the construction, commissioning and operation of the tmf.
"the tmf is a key element in urenco's commitment to sustainable energy generation," said urenco ceo boris schucht. "it is a further tangible demonstration of our responsible management of nuclear materials."
the company achieved more than seven million hours of safe working, making the tmf one of the safest construction sites in the uk and a credit to the whole workforce.
urenco operates plants in germany, the netherlands, the uk and the usa using its own centrifuge technology to for the use as a nuclear fuel for civil power generation.