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The Front End activities in brief

Guide tubes for fuel assemblies

The Front End combines operations related to uranium conversion and enrichment as well as the design and fabrication of fuel for nuclear reactors. New AREVA is a world leader in the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle and has major industrial plants, primarily in Europe (France, Germany and Belgium) and in the United States.

Goals and outlook

To optimize its existing production resources

To build new capacities

To stengthen its integrated fuel offer

Synergistic Activities

Chemistry

The Chemistry business involves purification of mining concentrates, followed by conversion of the uranium oxide into uranium hexafluoride.
The Chemistry Business Unit also provides uranium chemistry services to other segments of the fuel cycle, including defluorination (conversion of depleted uranium hexafluoride into an oxide) and denitration (recycling of uranium from used fuel).

Enrichment

Enrichment involves the isotopic conversion of natural uranium, which consists of increasing the proportion of uranium-235 to make fuel that can be used in nuclear reactors. Two enrichment processes are currently in use on an industrial scale worldwide: centrifugation and gaseous diffusion. New AREVA’s Georges Besse II enrichment plant uses the centrifugation process.

Fuel

Front End facilities
Georges Besse II plant
The Georges Besse II plant under construction - December 2010

A new era for enrichment