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.
LV Drums containing concentrate are weighed and pushed along conveyor into hopper housing.
CU Lid is removed from drum and drum is automatically moved into tipping position.
CU Man at controls.
CU Contents of drum are tipped into Hopper.
CU Drum vibrated to remove last of contents.
GV Stainless steel tanks.
LV Central Control Station.
SCU Billet lowered into furnace.
CU Pellets are placed in furnace.
SV Vacuum valve is lowered into place over furnace.
SV The bell is raised after casting revealing mould assembly.
CU Reeling machine straightens uranium rods.
CU Uranium rods being cut to size.
LV Uranium rods are lowered into electric furnace.
LV Magnesium Alloy containers being inspected.
CU End of container being cleaned.
CU Sealing cup is inserted.
SCU Container is placed in position in automatic welder.
CU Sealing cup is welded on to end of container.
STV Pan The uranium rod is inserted into container.
CU The second sealing disc and cup is screwed into position;
SV Diameter of containers is measured.
STV Supporting braces are fixed to container.
GV.Ext. The Calder Hall Atomic Energy Plant.
GV Chapelcross Atomic Energy Plant.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: 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).