This is where the uranium hexafluoride is heated until it becomes a gas, which is then fed into the cascades. Once the gas has passed through the centrifuge cascades, the enriched and depleted streams are withdrawn and stored in the appropriate cylinders to send to customers or to store on site.
The heart of the plant is its cascades. Each company’s plant is arranged differently, so the number of machines per cascade and the number of cascades in a plant will differ from one enricher’s plant to another.
Once feed material has been enriched and withdrawn from the cascade, the product cylinders are stored on site until they are ready to be shipped to a fuel fabricator for the customer. Storage usually occurs on large concrete pads near the Feed/Withdrawal facility.
A unique aspect of the American Centrifuge Plant is the ability to remove individual machines from the cascade and repair them if it becomes necessary. The Piketon site has a large Recycle/Assembly building for this purpose. This facility will also be used during plant startup to assemble the thousands of machines that will make up the American Centrifuge Plant.