• Short Summary

    Visnews filmed Jan 18 at the State-controlled Springfields plant Preston, Lancashire, the process of turning uranium concentrate into uranium rods - basic fuel used in generating energy needed to meet the growing demand for electricity in homes and factories.

  • Description

    Visnews filmed Jan 18 at the State-controlled Springfields plant Preston, Lancashire, the process of turning uranium concentrate into uranium rods - basic fuel used in generating energy needed to meet the growing demand for electricity in homes and factories.

    The plant is run by the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority and most of the uranium refined here goes to furnaces of the nation's five atomic reactors. Additional to supplying home demand, the producers have an eye on the export market: one certain consumer will be the nuclear power station at Latina, South of Rome, now being built by British and Italian firms.

    Springfields factory, expanding as the need for uranium rods and ancillary products grows, buys most of its material from South Africa. Other suppliers are Canada and Australia.

    In ten years output of rods at the factory approaches a million.

    Uranium concentrate-the material extracted previously from ore - is brought to the plant in drums and, after sampling and weighing, is tipped into hoppers.

    From these, the material is continuously fed into stainless steel tanks and dissolved in nitric acid.

    The solution, purified, passes through a series of processes, controlled from a central station.

    The end product, uranium tetrafloride, is mixed with magnesium metal and made into pellets which are loaded into containers for heating in electric furnaces, leading to the production of uranium metal in the form of a billet.

    High frequency induction furnaces are used to melt these billets of uranium and the molten metal is cast into rods.

    As the process is in a vacuum the furnace is encased in a bell, here seen being lowered into place.

    After casting, the bell is raised and the mould assembly removed for dismantling.

    The Uranium rods removed from the moulds, pass through a reeling machine to straighten them, then to a crooping machine-cutting them to size. They are heat-treated in further electric furnaces to improve their quality.

    In the plant's assembly shop, magnesium alloy cans are used to seal the rods meticulous inspection.

    To prevent contamination, the insertions are done in a separate part of the building...

    After further testing, supporting braces are fixed to the fuel element, and the finished product is given a final rigorous inspection.

    They are now ready for the reactors at Calder Hall (Cumberland), and Chapelcross (Scotland), Britain's existing nuclear power stations. In future this same plant will also supply the civil power stations now being built at Bradwell (Essex), Berkeley (Gloucester), Hunterston (Ayr), and Hinkley Point (Somerset).

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA8ALDIRS6KS1148JM2L5YVN5L5
    Media URN:
    VLVA8ALDIRS6KS1148JM2L5YVN5L5
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    20/01/1959
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:02:29:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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