Urenco enriches uranium, which arises at many places on the Earth’s surface. In its ‘ordinary’ form, this metal consists of 99.3 per cent of the non-fissile isotope uranium-238 and only 0.7 per cent of the fissile and therefore usable uranium-235. This is far too little for the generation of energy in a nuclear power plant. To make the uranium suitable for this, Urenco increases the content of fissile particles to about five per cent: that process is the ‘enrichment’ of the uranium.
The enrichment process takes places in high tech installations: the ultracentrifuges. Here, the uranium converted into gaseous form is thrown around at the speed of sound. The heavier uranium-238 particles end up at the edge of the centrifuge, and the lighter uranium-235 particles more in the middle. This way, the various uranium particles are separated, similar to how a juicer separates the juice and pulp.
Urenco’s centrifuges are also used to produce other substances on a smaller scale for industrial, scientific and medical applications. For example, in the metal industry, to inspect weld seams and detect construction defects. Hospitals use them to diagnose, treat tumours and combat pain. Because technological developments never stand still, Urenco continuously enriches the existing knowledge and insights based on experience. It’s a challenging work environment for technicians who want to work on clean energy supply and ground-breaking technology.