Natural uranium mined from the earth, can be used in certain types of nuclear reactors, but it is normally enriched to produce nuclear fuel. After being used to produce electricity it is known as ‘spent fuel’ and needs storing, possible reprocessing and recycling, before being disposed of safely. If fuel is not reprocessed then the fuel cycle is referred to as an ‘open fuel cycle’. If it is reprocessed and reused then the fuel cycle is considered as a ‘closed fuel cycle’. All stages of the nuclear fuel cycle give rise to some nuclear waste. The scope of ENSREG’s work, and that of the national regulators who are ENSREG members, covers the whole fuel cycle.
Roll over the diagram and click on illustrations to get further information on nuclear fuel cycle.