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Gas Centrifuge Theory


Theoretical Fundamentals for Multicomponent Isotope Separation by a Gas Centrifuge.

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-WDS/Waste Disposal/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
MIFI, Russia, Moscow

Supporting institutes

  • Kurchatov Research Center, Russia, Moscow


  • University of Virginia / Department of Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering, USA, VA, Charlottesville

Project summary

The basic objective of the project is the fulfillment of the versatile investigations of the gas centrifuge parameters in separating various isotope mixtures. In the framework of the project two ways of research will be realized:
- investigation of separation multicomponent isotope mixtures are formed in spent nuclear fuel; the goal is to discover the possibilities to enrich isotope 235U under the condition of maximum product purification of radioactive uranium isotope impurities and uranium isotopes with great eutron cross capture.
- investigation of separation various non-uranium isotopes; the possibilities to use for this purpose of the gas centrifuges intended for uranium isotope separation will be analysed as well as the determination of gas centrifuge parameters would be universal for separation of wide spectrum isotope mixtures. The main technical approach and methodology of the project fulfillment are based on the carrying out the systematic scientific and technical research by the technique of the computing experiment.

According to this technique by means of the numerical solution of the full set of viscous, compressible, thermoconductive gas dynamics equations will be determined the field of the isotope mixture concentrations in the rotor of the gas centrifuge and its separative characteristics will be calculated. All the design parameters to the rotor are modeling by the special set of the boundary conditions. To test the reliability of the computing experiment results and to choose the adjusting parameters for the numerical model the full-scale experiments in the actual separation processes will be carried out.

To solve the formulated problems in the framework of the project in addition the following tasks will be solved: physical-mathematical models of the mass transfer of multicomponent isotope mixtures in the gas centrifuge rotor will be developed; a direct method of solving systems of nonlinear algebraic equations derived within the finite-difference approximation of gas dynamics equations will be created; special-purpose algorithms and computing codes will be developed to calculate the mass transfer in the rotor of a gas centrifuge for different molecular masses.

After finishing the project the following results are expected:

- the operational characteristics of gas centrifuges in separation of various isotope mixtures differ in number of components, molecular masses and kinetic transport coefficients will be determined; the analysis of the results obtained will give the information about the influence of the basic parameters of a gas centrifuge on its separation characteristics and allow conclusions to be made about the efficiency of separation in different types of gas centrifuge as well as determine the parameters of a gas centrifuge should possess to separate different isotopes;
- the indices of recycling spent nuclear fuel for reuse of low-enriched 235U and possibilities of using the available separation capacities for the above purposes will be provided;
- some fundamental scientific knowledge concerning the influence of such factors as quantitative composition and the chemical nature of multicomponent mixtures on the transport processes in strong centrifugal fields will be determined;
- new numerical techniques for solving the problem on the dynamics of multicomponent isotope mixtures in strong centrifugal fields will be developed.

The project participants have a great experience in solving of complex theoretical and experimental problems in molecular and computational physics especially on the project theme. Four persons have a long-term experience in computing experiments for uranium isotope separation by a gas centrifuge. Five persons are the professional in development and exploitation of a gas centrifuge technology. One person is the expert in the mathematical physics and mathematical modeling.

Potential Role of the Foreign Collaborator

Discussion of scientific results and participation in common publications.


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