gfmr11-fig-ultracentrifuge-full.jpg The gas centrifuge for uranium enrichment.

The possibility of using centrifuges to separate isotopes was raised shortly after isotopes were discovered in 1919. The first experiments using centrifuges to separate isotopes of uranium (and other elements) were successfully carried out on a small scale prior to and during World War II, but the technology only became economically competitive in the 1970s. Today, centrifuges are the most economic enrichment technology, but also the most proliferation-prone.
From IPFM, Global Fissile Material Report 2011

Click in picture to continue.     View image