International Isotopes Inc. (INIS) has selected a site in Lea County, about 15 miles west of Hobbs, New Mexico for the construction of our planned depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) de-conversion and Fluorine Extraction Process (FEP) facility. This is the first commercial facility of its kind in the U.S. This is an environmentally and economically sound process that will safely produce important fluoride products for many technological and alternative energy applications while safely converting the depleted UF6 into a chemically stable material for storage or disposal.
The INIS de-conversion process will convert the DUF6 byproduct (or tails) from uranium enrichment operations into depleted uranium tetrafluoride (DUF4). INIS will then use its patented FEP technology to extract fluorine from the DUF4 for use in the manufacture of specialty, high-value fluoride gases. High purity fluoride gases are in ever-increasing demand for applications such as ion-implantation or chemical vapor deposition processes for microelectronics components and high-speed silicon chip manufacture.
The planned de-conversion and FEP facility constructed by INIS will be used to process depleted uranium hexafluoride on a toll basis for uranium enrichment facilities. New uranium enrichment facilities are operating in New Mexico and others are planned for construction in Idaho, North Carolina, and Ohio.
Other products generated by the de-conversion of depleted uranium include hydrofluoric acid and depleted uranium oxide. The hydrofluoric acid (HF) is in high demand for many industrial process applications and INIS will sell this by-product to the commercial markets. The depleted uranium oxide could be stored for several potential additional applications or disposed of as low-level radioactive waste.
INIS has constructed a high purity fluoride gas pilot production and analysis facility in Idaho for testing key components for the larger New Mexico facility. That pilot facility has been operated since 2006 under an existing license with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.