Fr.: yellow cake, "gâteau jaune"
The final product obtained from the processing of uranium ores. It is a coarse powder, a mixture of uranium oxides, with about 80% U3O8. It has a pungent odor and melts at approximately 2878 °C. The yellowcake produced by most modern mills is actually brown or black, not yellow; the name comes from the color of the concentrates produced by early mining operations due to impurities from ammonium diuranate. Yellowcake must be converted into → uranium hexafluoride (UF6) before it can be enriched, the process that makes the sort of uranium used by nuclear power plants or bomb-makers (→ uranium enrichment). The uranium hexafluoride is heated to become a gas and loaded into cylinders. When it cools, it condenses into a solid.
→ yellow; cake, M.E., from O.Norse kaka "cake," from which also derive M.Du. koke, Du. koek, Ger. Kuchen.