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     96    

96 Cm Curium

Actinoid, mass: 247 u, no stable and no natural isotopes.

A piece of curium, which emitts strong radiation that makes it glow. Photo: © European Union, The Actinide Group, Institute for Transuranium Elements (JRC-ITU).

Curium

The synthetic element curium is usually made from plutonium and mostly decays to this again. The most stable isotope, 247Cm, has a quite long half-life of 15.6 million years. However, this is scarcely produced. Much more frequent are the significantly more unstable isotopes 242 and 244, which emit very intense radiation. Therefore, the enormously dangerous curium is used only rarely and in safe environments, like in space missions. The Mars rovers had it with them in their X-ray spectrometers. Curium isotopes are produced unintentionally in atomic reactors.


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