Sample of contraband plutonium

Sample of contraband plutonium

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Caption: Plutonium sample. This small grey disc, held by tweezers inside a glove box, is a sample of contraband plutonium. Plutonium (Pu) is a radioactive element; it occurs naturally in uranium ores and is also manufactured as a by- product in nuclear reactors. It exists in five isotopes, the most stable of which has a half-life of 82 million years. 'Weapons-grade' plutonium contains at least 97% of the highly-fissile isotope 239Pu. This sample was seized by German customs officers in 1994. It was photographed at the European Trans- Uranium Institute (ETUI) in Karlsruhe, Germany, which investigates and identifies contraband nuclear materials.

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Keywords: chemical, chemistry, contraband, contraband plutonium, element, elements, plutonium, pu, radioactive, radioactivity, sample

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