How-To Geek

How Uranium Refinement Works [Video]

While building a nuclear weapon is a complex task in and of itself, the most difficult part is refining uranium. In this informative video, Bill Hammack explains.

Weapons and power plants require uranium that contains a greater amount of the isotope uranium-235 than found in natural uranium, which is mostly uranium-238. He outlines the key difficulty in separating the two isotope: They have nearly identical properties. He explains the two key methods for separation: Gas diffusion and centrifuges.

What Keeps Nuclear Weapons from Proliferating

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/20/12

Comments (4)

  1. jasray

    Absolutely fascinating–really. Living in Moab, UT–home of uranium mining and Charlie Steen–and reading the news on Iran makes makes more sense.

  2. Ushindi

    Some years of my misspent youth were expended working on nuclear weapons. Truly interesting to be surrounded by many very powerful and very real ones.

  3. REnninga

    Fascinating. Don’t you love it when you find a natural teacher like Bill Hammack who has a talent for explaining complex subjects in understandable way?

    I took away more understanding from that little narrated video than I did from my college physics classes. I want my tuition money back!!!

    PS. I couldn’t agree more with the underlying message: We should all be VERY glad that this isn’t easy to do!

  4. grizzle

    Coming from a neutral country that is isolated like New Zealand, we just look at the states as being killers. why do you need to be in this weapons race and kill so many people?your former leader should be charged with war crimes.Increasethepeace

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