PATRICK LANDMANN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PATRICK LANDMANN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nuclear fuel pellet. Forceps being used to handle a nuclear fuel pellet at a nuclear fuel assembly factory. This nuclear fuel pellet contains 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 pellet 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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