Fr.: enrichissement de l'uranium
The process by which the percentage of → fissile uranium in a sample is increased. Uranium obtained from mining contains several → isotopes of uranium in different compositions, such as U-238 (~99%), U-235 (~0.7%), and U-234 (~0.02%). Among them, U-235 is the only one that is fissile, i.e. can be used in a → nuclear reactor to produce heat (and consequently electricity) in a controlled manner. As such, the concentration of U-235 as a fuel used in a reactor needs to be increased, which is done using several techniques, such as → gaseous diffusion.