Uranium

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Uranium
Name Uranium
Symbol U
Atomic number 92
Atomic mass 238.02891 amu
Normal state Solid
Classification Metallic
Crystal structure Orthorhombic
Color metallic grey, reacts slowly with oxygen and rapidly with water.
Date of discovery 1789
Name of discoverer Martin J. Klaproth
Name origin From the planet Uranus.
Uses For many centuries it was used as a pigment for glass. Now it is used as a fuel in nuclear reactors and in nuclear weapons. Depleted Uranium is used in casings of armor piercing artillery shells, armor plating on tanks and as ballast in the wings of some large aircraft.
Obtained from Primary uranium bearing ores are uraninite, autunite, carnotite, samarskite and torbernite.

Uranium (U) is a heavy, naturally radioactive, metallic element with an atomic number of 92. Its two principally occurring isotopes are uranium-235 and uranium-238. Uranium-235 is indispensable to the nuclear industry because it is the only isotope existing in nature that is fissionable by thermal neutrons. Uranium-238 is also important because it absorbs neutrons to produce a radioactive isotope that subsequently decays to the isotope plutonium-239, which also is fissionable by thermal neutrons.

"Depleted" Uranium is one of the densest materials known to man; As such, the United States uses it for bullets and tank armor. According to the WHO, normal civil or military use of depleted uranium is unlikely to lead to serious health problems. However, depleted uranium remains nonetheless a weakly radioactive, and chemically toxic metal. [1][2][3]

World Production (2010) [4]

Country Production (t) Production (%)
Kazakhstan17,80333
Canada9,78318
Australia5,90010
Namibia4,4968
Niger4,1987
Russia3,5626
Uzbekistan2,4004
USA1,6603
Ukraine (est)8501
China (est)8271
Malawi 6701
South Africa5831
India (est)4000
Czech Republic2540
Brazil1480
Romania (est)770
Pakistan (est)450
France70

References

  1. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050724094117.htm
  2. http://web.ead.anl.gov/uranium/guide/depletedu/health/index.cfm
  3. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs257/en/
  4. http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf23.html
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