The French fuel cycle
Nuclear power plants involve a whole cycle of operations and transformations, called "nuclear fuel cycle. "The front-end sector of the cycle - upstream of electricity production - involves looking for uranium deposits, mining, concentration of uranium and its chemical conversion in the form of hexafluoride, and finally its enrichment in the fissile isotope uranium 235 followed by fuel fabrication. "Downstream" of electricity generation, the back-end sector includes reprocessing of spent fuel, recycling of uranium and plutonium, and waste management.