Located 30 km of Ardakan city and 180 km north of Yazd province, Ardakan yellowcake production plant produces yellowcake with the enrichment level of 7%.
The first yellowcake production plant in the country was active in Golchin factory in Bandar Abbas until recent years which converted the ore from the Golchin mine into the yellowcake.
But at the beginning of 2016, a larger plant named after “Dariush Rezaeinejad”, one of the nuclear martyrs, was established in Ardakan, Yazd. It is better equipped and more modern than the Bandar Abbas factory and can convert the ore extracted from Saghand mine in Yazd into yellowcake required in Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) of Isfahan with a higher capacity.
Specifications and capacities:
Launched in: )2012( 1391
Raw material: Saghand mine of Yazd
Ore grade: 500 grams per ton
Input capacity: 120 thousand tons
Produced yellowcake per year: 67 tons of U3O8
Percentage of purification: 75% uranium
First production in: )1 April 2015( 12 Farvardin 1394
What is yellowcake?
Yellowcake (U3O8) is the main raw material required in the nuclear fuel cycle, which is the uranium concentrate obtained from its mineral ore. In fact, yellowcake is one of the most famous intermediate products in the fuel cycle, which despite its name, is a dark powder that tends to be dark green. Naturally the amount of uranium in the ores is relatively low, therefore; the uranium ore must first be concentrated and refined in the yellowcake production plant so it can be used in uranium conversion facilities (UCFs).
The yellowcake product is eventually used to produce natural UF6 gas, which is the row material for enrichment sites such as Natanz complex. The required enrichment would be achieved using the gas centrifuge method.
UF6 gas and yellowcake reserves, which total about 900 tons, differ slightly in uranium content. UF6 is gas and yellowcake is solid, and the important thing is that the uranium hexafluoride is one step closer to the enrichment.
The nuclear fuel cycle consists of several steps. Providing the raw materials and the production of yellowcake is of the primary and fundamental steps. Usually a yellowcake production plant is built near the uranium mine all over the world. The extracted uranium ore which naturally has impurities and its grade is low, is converted into a yellowcake with the enrichment level of 0.7% in a concentrate plant.