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Kovarex enrichment process

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Kovarex enrichment process.png
Kovarex enrichment process

Recipe

Time icon.png
60
+
Uranium-235.png
40
+
Uranium-238.png
5
Uranium-235.png
41
+
Uranium-238.png
2

Total raw

Time icon.png
60
+
Uranium-235.png
40
+
Uranium-238.png
5

Prototype type

recipe

Internal name

kovarex-enrichment-process

Required technologies

Kovarex enrichment process (research).png

Produced by

Centrifuge.png

The Kovarex enrichment process is a method for reprocessing uranium in a centrifuge. Although the process requires a large amount of the much rarer uranium-235 to start, it can be a good way to get more use out of the available uranium ore.

Purpose

Uranium processing takes 10 uranium ore and returns 1 uranium-235 with 0.007 (0.7%) probability, or 1 uranium-238 with 0.993 (99.3%) probability, leading to an expected (though not guaranteed) 1 unit of uranium-235 per approximately 143 processing cycles (or about a 1:142 ratio of U-235 to U-238). This is currently the only probability-based crafting recipe in the game.

Uranium-235 is necessary to create uranium fuel cells and atomic bombs, in considerable quantities for the latter, but the probability distribution of uranium processing leads to it being produced slowly and creating large stockpiles of U-238 as a byproduct. The Kovarex process thus provides the player with a considerably faster (and deterministic) method of producing U-235, as well as a use for the surplus U-238.

It should be noted that U-238 is not useless; it is necessary (and sufficient) to manufacture uranium rounds magazines, uranium cannon shells, and explosive uranium cannon shells, and is required as a secondary ingredient in uranium fuel cells. Therefore, it is not advisable to use the Kovarex process to convert all stockpiled U-238 into U-235. (Although, in case of shortage, Used up uranium fuel cells can be reprocessed into a modest amount of U-238.)

Trivia

  • The Kovarex enrichment process is named after Michal Kovařík, lead designer of Factorio and co-owner of Wube, whose online nick is kovarex (which he usually spells lowercase). [1]
  • In the real world, uranium-235 is the most common fissile isotope of uranium and makes up approximately 0.72% of naturally-occurring uranium, with the other 99.28% being uranium-238. The in-game representation is thus highly accurate in this regard. Uranium is commonly enriched in centrifuges to increase the percentage of 235U for use in fission reactions.
  • Uranium munitions are made from depleted uranium, a byproduct of uranium enrichment, which is mostly 238U whose natural admixture of the 235U isotope has been lowered even further through the enrichment process. Depleted uranium is minimally radioactive and the reason for its use in munitions is its very high density and other mechanical properties, not radioactivity/toxicity.

History

  • 0.17.0:
    • Can be used with productivity modules once again.
    • Use with productivity modules now gives correct amount of bonus items.
  • 0.15.2:
    • No longer usable with productivity modules.

See also