Fire Protection for Nuclear Fuel Cycle Facilities
- Conversion of yellowcake into uranium hexafluoride (UF6)
- Enrichment to increase the concentration of uranium-235 (U235) in UF6
- Fuel fabrication to convert enriched UF6 into nuclear reactor fuel, which is a combination of uranium and plutonium oxides
The principal risk to health and safety at these facilities is the release and dispersal of hazardous chemicals and radioactive material as a result of a fire or explosion. To mitigate that risk, a fire protection program for nuclear fuel cycle facilities has the following primary purposes:
- Prevent, detect, extinguish, limit, or control fires and explosions.
- Prevent releases that might expose the general public to hazardous chemicals and radioactive material.
- Protect facility workers from occupational exposure.
- Shield the facility against fire-induced criticality events and losses of confinement.
The NRC's Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards (NMSS) administers the agency's Fire Protection Program for Fuel Cycle Facilities through a combination of regulations, guidance, and related licensing and oversight activities (including reliability assessments and modeling).