Commissioning and startup of the Blind River uranium refinery

Schisler, J. M.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
In the last five years Eldorado Resources Ltd. (ERL) has undergone a major expansion and modernization of its uranium refining and conversion plants. A new refinery for processing yellow cake to UO3 was constructed at Blind River in northern Ontario and started up in 1985. Its rated capacity is 18,000 t/a uranium as UO3. At Port Hope, Ontario, ERL's new UF6 conversion plant has been constructed. This plant started up in 1984. It utilizes the novel, wet-way process to produce UF4 and gives the company a UF6 production capacity of 14,500 t/a U. Also at Port Hope is Eldorado's ceramic UO2 powder production facility, commissioned in late 1980. It has a capacity of 1700 t/a uranium as UO8. With the completion of these capital projects, Eldorado has the largest and most up-to-date refining and conversion facilities in the western world. This paper reviews the refining process and process design. The methodology used to start up the Blind River plant is described as are some startup difficulties, solutions that were developed, and the resultant current operation.
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