1
H
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 1
D
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He
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N
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O
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F
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Ge
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Se
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Rb
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Sr
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Y
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I
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Cs
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 72
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Re
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Os
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Ir
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Pt
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Hg
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Pb
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 87
Fr
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 88
Ra
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 104
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 105
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Eu
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Gd
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 89
Ac
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Pa
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U
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 93
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Pu
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Cm
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Fm
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 101
Md
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 102
No
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     94    

94 Pu Plutonium

Actinoid, mass: 244 u, no stable isotopes, abundance rank (earth/space): 90/?

Photo: U.S. Department of Energy, 1945, released as public domain.

Plutonium

Plutonium, a silvery, very heavy and hard metal, is perhaps the most dangerous of all elements. It was in the bomb of Nagasaki and, together with uranium, involved in the Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters. In multiple nuclear tests it devasteted huge areas. 244Pu, the most stable isotope, has a half-life of 80 million years. In nature, plutonium only occurs in extremely small amounts, all that is in use is artificially made from uranium. Apart from its radioactivity, it is very toxic. As fissile material, commonly 239Pu is used. When hit by a neutron, this decays and releases more neutrons. If not fissioned, most plutonium decays to uranium.


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