Plutonium & Its Important Facts | WorldOfChemicals

Actualities about Plutonium

Category : General Chemicals
Published by : Data Research Analyst, Worldofchemicals.com

Plutonium is a chemical element with the atomic number 94 which is radioactive in nature with the chemical formula of Pu and with the atomic number of 94. Plutonium is of silvery-gray appearance that stains when exposed to air, as the metal oxidizes quickly, producing a mixture of oxide and hydride due it its high reactivity, which later forms a dull coating when it is tarnished. Commonly occurring radioisotopes of plutonium are plutonium-238, plutonium-239 and plutonium-240.

Where does Plutonium come from?

Plutonium organically forms inside the star undergoing supernova, along with almost all the heavy elements in the universe. It is not found on in its unique form on earth due to its instability. The steady isotope of elementary occurring plutonium has only life of 82,000,000 years, and is drained before it can be taken up in terrestrial formation. However, humans have been able to artificially create plutonium. In University of California during 1941, the first sample of plutonium was produced. Researchers sprinkled the sample of uranium-238 and helium nuclei till it gave rise to neptunium-238 which had a short life. In few days, the sample had decomposed into plutonium-238.

Uses of Plutonium

Since from the development phase in the United States and worldwide plutonium has been used in nuclear weapons. It was crucial for testing directed by Robert Oppenheimer and his unit during World War II. In addition, plutonium has considered as an application in the extension of radiological missiles, and in the development of nuclear armaments which are called "fast-breeder", which is used as a blended oxide fuel.

In further ancient research with plutonium has revealed its used in operating heart pacemakers and in providing additional heat to scuba divers. Plutonium has ascertained an operative agent in coining neutrons when combined with beryllium.

Plutonium and the nuclear power

Plutonium is arisen from nuclear power reactors of uranium-238 by capturing neutron. While operating, a distinctive 1,000 MWe nuclear power reactor contains within its uranium fuel load several hundred kilograms of plutonium. Resembling to other elements plutonium has many isotopes, with various number of neutrons in the nucleus. All the 15 plutonium isotopes is radioactive in nature, because they are unstable in their form and hence forth decay, discharging particles and gamma radiation.

Environmental effects of Plutonium

Plutonium enters in surface water due to fortuitous release and dumping of radioactive wastes. As the plutonium isotopes are found in the sediments, soil becomes contaminated with plutonium. It moves downwards in the soil and slowly into the groundwater. Plants take in low levels of plutonium, but these are not high enough to affect the bio magnification of plutonium in the food chain, or accumulation in the animals.


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