Conversion plants are operating commercially in the US, Canada, France, Russia and China.
The main new plant is Areva’s Comurhex II, operating between two sites in France.
China’s capacity is expected to grow considerably through to 2025 and beyond to keep pace with domestic requirements.
In 2016, world nameplate primary conversion capacity was estimated at around 59 000 tU. Although the actual conversion production is generally less than nameplate (according to the WNA, capacity utilisation is about 79 % of nameplate), supply provided by primary and secondary conversion sources was well above the global demand for conversion services. Part of the supply continued to be provided by secondary conversion sources. Secondary supply of equivalent conversion services includes UF6 material from commercial and government inventories, enricher underfeeding, and depleted uranium tails recovery. Uranium and plutonium recycling effectively adds to this. According to WNA, secondary sources are projected to provide less than 14 000 tU to 2022.
Commercial UF6 conversion facilities (tonnes of uranium/year)
in 2015 (tU as UF6)
|Share of global capacity (%)|
|Comurhex (AREVA) (France)||15 000||25.4|
|ConverDyn (United States)||15 000||25.4|
|Cameco (CAN, UK)||12 500||21.2|
|Atomenergoprom (Rosatom) (RUS)||12 500||21.2|
|CNNC (China)||4 000||6.8|
|Total nameplate capacity||59 100||100|
Source: WNA, The Nuclear Fuel Report - Global Scenarios for Demand and Supply Availability 2015-2036
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