DUF6 is a by-product of the uranium enrichment process, in which uranium oxide is converted into the uranium-235 fuel commonly used to produce energy or for national security purposes.
In that process, uranium oxide is first mined and then converted into uranium hexafluoride. Centrifuges are used to separate materials, resulting in a nuclear fuel with a higher concentration of U-235 and a depleted byproduct, which contains a much lower U-235 concentration. This byproduct is called depleted uranium hexafluoride, or DUF6.
The BWCS DUF6 Conversion Project's mission is to operate facilities in Portsmouth and Paducah that convert DUF6 into a stable, solid crystal form that can be used for other purposes, stored or safely disposed of.
Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant
The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant is located on a 3,400 acre, DOE-owned site near Paducah, KY. The plant produced low-enriched nuclear fuel for power plants.
Today, the Paducah plant is transitioning from enrichment operations to shared missions with environmental cleanup, waste management, depleted uranium conversion, deactivation and decommissioning, re-industrialization and long-term stewardship.
Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant
The Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant is located on a 3,700-acre site owned by the DOE, near Portsmouth, OH. At one time, the Portsmouth plant produced enriched uranium for the U.S. nuclear energy program and national security purposes.
In 2001, uranium enrichment operations at the Portsmouth plant ceased and were consolidated with operations in Paducah.
Today, the facility is in decontamination and decommissioning.