Plutonium

From Nuclear Heritage
Jump to: navigation, search

Plutonium (symbol: Pu) is a transuranic chemical element with the atomic number 94[1]. All isotopes are alpha emitters. In nature Plutonium usually can't be found - or only in traces.[2]

Plutonium is one of the most toxic substances. So far it was released with the atomic bomb on Nagasaki and by several nuclear accidents like Mayak and Chernobyl. The above-ground nuclear weapons tests spread 4 t of plutonium worldwide. After a release particle of it can be incorporated with dust, water and food.[2]

It accumulates in bone marrow and liver. Inhalation leads to lung cancer. The incorporation of as less as a few thousandth gram causes lethal radiation injuries.[2]

Plutonium also is highly toxic as a heavy metal, and particularly harmful for the kidneys.[2]

Plutonium-238

It has a half-life of 87.7 years.[2]

Plutonium-239

It has a half-life of 24,110 years, while the biological half-life is 100 years in bones and 40 years in liver. Many people living close to nuclear weapons factories had been contaminated by plutonium-239.[2]

Plutonium-240

It has a half-life of 6,564 years.[2]


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Plutonium&oldid=762933031 as at February 22, 2017
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 ippnw factsheet: Radioactive Stoffe machen krank. A-Z von radioaktiven Isotopen, die beim Atomunfall freigesetzt werden; March 2011

Personal tools
Emergency Alert