Nuclear archaeology for gaseous diffusion enrichment plants

Sébastien Philippe, Alexander Glaser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Gaseous diffusion was historically the most widely used technology for military production of highly enriched uranium. Since June 2013, all gaseous diffusion enrichment plants worldwide are permanently shut down. The experience with decommissioning some of these plants has shown that they contain large amounts of uranium particles deposited in the cascade equipment. This article evaluates the potential of using uranium particle deposition to understand and reconstruct the operating histories of gaseous diffusion enrichment plants. First, a squared-off cascade enrichment model is derived to estimate the enrichment capacity of a reference plant. Then, using a cross-flow filtration model, the mass of solid uranium particles deposited over time in the tubular separation membranes of the stage diffusers is calculated. Finally, potential techniques to characterize these uranium deposits and help reconstruct the operating history of the plant are assessed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-49
Number of pages23
JournalScience and Global Security
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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