The construction and operation of the DUF6 Conversion plants was mandated by Congress. In August 2002, DOE awarded a contract for design, construction and initial operation of the two facilities. Since February 1, 2017, Mid-America Conversion Services LLC (MCS) has been the contractor for the operation of both facilities at the Paducah and Portsmouth Sites. From 2010 until February 2017, BWXT Conversion Services, LLC was the operations contractor.
The DUF6 Conversion Process involves five parts:
- Cylinder recycling
- Oxide powder handling
- Hydrofluoric acid recovery system.
The process results in two products -- uranium oxide and hydrofluoric acid. The oxide is stored for eventual disposal or reuse, and the hydrofluoride can be used in industrial applications.
There are currently more than 63,000 cylinders containing DUF6 stored in cylinder yards at the Paducah and Portsmouth sites.
- Existing inventory totals more than 740,000 metric tons.
- Typical size for a cylinder is four feet high (48 inches in diameter).
- 10-ton thick-walled cylinder weighs 4,500 lbs. and can hold 20,000 lbs. of DUF6.
- 14-ton thin-walled cylinder weighs 2,600 lbs. and can hold 28,000 lbs. of DUF6.
DUF6 Information Network
The DUF6 Information Network Web Site is an online repository of information about the DOE's inventory of depleted uranium hexafluoride.