Definition of yellowcake in English:



mass noun
  • Impure uranium oxide obtained during processing of uranium ore.

    • ‘The natural uranium and yellowcake stored at Tuwaitha was not nuclear bomb grade material.’
    • ‘The process of uranium enrichment is incredibly difficult and energy intensive. Thousands of tons of uranium ore should be processed into powder form called yellowcake.’
    • ‘The problem of uranium-contaminated groundwater dates back to the Cold War when mines and mills throughout the United States produced millions of tons of uranium oxide, or yellowcake, to build nuclear bombs.’
    • ‘Included in those facilities, say analysts, is a process line for turning uranium ore into yellowcake, the first step in the process towards enriching it into weapons-grade material.’


1950s; so named because it is obtained as a yellow precipitate.