Nuclear fuel pellets

Nuclear fuel pellets

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Caption: Nuclear fuel pellets. Forceps being used to arrange nuclear fuel pellets into rows for fuel pins at a nuclear fuel assembly factory. These nuclear fuel pellets contain mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, which is a mixture of plutonium and uranium. The uranium and plutonium are mixed together as a powder and turned into the ceramic (oxidised) fuel pellets seen here. The fuel pellets are then loaded one on top of the other into long fuel pins, up to 3 metres long, and used to create controlled nuclear fission reactions in nuclear reactors. Plutonium and uranium are radioactive, and the fuel pellets are handled with forceps and automated processes to minimise the exposure of the workers. This is the Melox factory in Marcoule, France. Photographed in 2004.

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