PATRICK LANDMANN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PATRICK LANDMANN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Nuclear fuel assembly. Intermediate storage areas for fuel pins at a nuclear fuel assembly factory. The automated machinery (left) is used to minimise the exposure of the workers to the radioactive materials. Each nuclear fuel pin is a hollow metal tube, up to 3 metres long, which is designed to be filled with small pellets of nuclear fuel. In this case the fuel is mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, which is a mixture of plutonium and uranium. Hundreds of these fuel pins will be bundled together to form a unit containing hundreds of thousands of pellets, which is then loaded into a nuclear reactor to initiate a controlled nuclear fission reaction. This is the Melox factory in Marcoule, France. Photographed in 2004.
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