Plutonium

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The name of the element I researched was Plutonium. The symbol for this

element is PU and its atomic number is 94. The name is derived from the planet

Pluto. Plutonite is a silvery radioactive metal in the actinide series. The actinide

series are radioactive metals, with the atomic numbers 89 through 103. All these

members of the actinide series have chemical properties similar to actinium. The

elements in this series with atomic numbers greater than 92 are the transuranium

elements. Only two transuraium elements occur in nature, these are neptunium and

plutonium. They are produced in miniscule amounts by the decay of uranium.

Plutonium was first discovered by Glenn Theodore Seaborg, an American

chemist. He worked at the University of Chicago during World War II developing

the atom bomb. In 1951 Glenn Theodore Seaborg and Edwin M. McMillan shared

a Nobel Prize in chemistry for work on the transuranium elements. Seaborg is

codiscoverer of the elements plutonium, americium, curium, berkelium,

californium, einsteinium, fermium, mendelvium, and nobelium. Glenn Seaborg,

Edwin McMillan, Joseph Kennedy and Arthur Wahl discovered, Plutonium at

U.C. Berkeley on the night of February 23-24, 1941. They found this plutonium in

the form of isotope Plutonium-238. This isotope was produced by the

bombardment of uranium with deuterons in the 60-inch cyclotron at U.C.

One of the many uses for plutonium is the production of nuclear energy.

The energy in the nucleus of the PU atom can be released through fission or

through fusion. In a fission reaction, a nucleus absorbs a neutron and becomes

unstable, then it splits into two nuclei, nearly equal in size. In fusion, two nuclei

combine to form one nuclei that is very heavy. Fusion occurs for very heavy

nuclei and fission occurs for the ligh

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