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Uranium hexafluoride

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Uranium hexafluoride
Systematic name Uranium(VI) fluoride
Molecular formula UF6
Molar mass Molar mass::352.02 g/mol
Appearance silvery gray metalic
CAS number CAS number::7783-81-5
Density and phase Density::5.09 g/ml
Solubility in water  ? g/100 ml (20°C)
Melting point Melting point::64.8 °C
Boiling point Boiling point::56.5 °C
Molecular shape Octahedral
Crystal structure Hexagonal Close Packed
Dipole moment Zero
Main hazards Radioactive
Flash point Nonflammable
R/S statement R: Kidney Damage
S: Must be stored properly
RTECS number LY5220000
Related compounds
Related compounds uranyl fluoride, Uranium
Except where noted otherwise, data are given for
materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
Disclaimer and references

Uranium hexafluoride is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula UF6. It was found and named in 1911 but was not used until 1938. Uranium hexafluoride can be either a gas liquid or solid but if exposed to oxygen it will turn into Uranyl Fluoride. This will cause damage to lungs and kidney’s if breathed in.[1] It is used in nuclear power plants of which there are currently 104 in the U.S alone that generate 20% of our electricity.


Uranium hexafluoride [UF6] is a white crystalline solid that resembles rock salt.

UF6 is composed of 1 Uranium atom and 6 Fluorine atoms. UF6 can either be a solid, liquid, or gas at certain temperatures. Its solid form is a white dense crystal like structure. Uf6 does not react with dry air, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, or oxygen alone but does react with water. It instantly changes into another compound named uranyl fluoride (UO2F2).[2]It can also change into the corrosively toxic hydrofluoric acid that causes’ damage to the lungs and kidney's. UF6 also contains many other health hazards and is some times made with artificial isotopes. [3] UF6 percentile is F=32.38 and U=67.62 it has a density of 5090 kg m-3. It is one of the most soluble Uranium compounds.[4]


Chart of UF6 changing from gas liquid, or solid with certain temp and pressure

UF6 has occurred in nature but in very small amounts in soil, rocks, humans ect. It was found by Heinzelmann in 1911. He combined uranium and fluorine then heated it up to 350°C and then it combined creating a man made form of UF6.

Once combined it can endure temperatures at 1100°C. UF6 is extremely radioactive and can pose serious health risks by breathing it and then causes kidney damage or failure depending on the amount breathed in.[5] The PEIS=>[6] explains the hazards and safety precautions.


Uranium hexafluoride is used in enrichment methods, gaseous diffusion, and gas centrifuge method since it contains a triple point. UF6 is also used for separating regular uranium isotopes to make more efficient energy for nuclear power stations. It also can help make Atomic bombs. Since the uranium isotope 235 is made only through fusion for the A-bomb, UF6 help make that happen through an enrichment method thus creating U-235.

[7] Gaseous diffusion for UF6 is the separation for U-235 and U-238 once UF6 enriches U-238 the Gas form of UF6 is used to separate them into to separate components so that they do not mix together again.[8] Once UF6 is used up it must be stored like nuclear waste for it is still very hazardless’. since there is no way to remove this it is made sure that it is sealed tight and not to be seen again until it can be properly disposed of.[9] Since UF6 can not be disposed of it keep’s piling up. There is 700,000 metric tons of depleted UF6 as of 2001

Medical Treatment

In all cases Please see a doctor immediately.


Inhaled: May suffer from burning feeling, cough and shortness of breath. Treated by Fresh air, rest, and artificial respiration if needed.

Skin contact: corrosive, skin burns, and severe pain. Treated by a well rinse with water, remove clothes after and again rinse with water. Doctor must wear protective gear when administrating treatment.

Eyes: Corrosive, Pain, and severe deep burns. Quickly rinse eyes with water for several minutes then immediately see a doctor.

Ingested: corrosive, burning sensation, abdominal cramps, shock and or collapse. Rinse mouth DO NOT INDUCE VOMITING give plenty of water to drink , then see a doctor immediately.[10]


During gaseous diffusion activities at the K-25 Site (now known as the East Tennessee Technology Park), a byproduct known as uranium hexafluoride was stored in cylinders located in six storage yards. More than 6000 cylinders were stored until 2002, when shipment of the cylinders to DOE’s Portsmouth, Ohio, facility began. All cylinders will eventually be shipped.

In 1944 a Research pilot plant for thermal division was temporarily shut-down for piping maintnance. When the plant was to be reactivated an 8ft long cylinder of UF6 was released along side some steam, thus heating it up and creating uranyl fluoride. Two men were killed by breathing the substance dissolving their lungs and three were injured and died three years later by kidney damage.

In 1978 an empty cylinder of liquid that was supposed to be depleted of UF6 was accidentally dropped in the courtyard of Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant and spilled UF6. The cold weather did not let the liquid spread far, Cleanup crews managed to recollect as much as possible but that area is still contaminated and is off limits.

Finally the most recent on has been in 1986 were a shipping container at the Sequoyah Fuels Corp. was reheated to expunge any remaining UF6. Unfortunately the cylinder ruptured releasing a thick cloud of UF6 31 workers were exposed and all had short term kidney damage. There have been ten more incidents’ over these few years alone due to dents or mishandlings’[11]


Properties What's its made of.