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Encyclopedia > Uranium 238

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MSN Encarta - Uranium (593 words)
The radioactive properties of uranium were first demonstrated in 1896 when the French physicist Antoine Henri Becquerel produced, by the action of the fluorescent salt potassium uranyl sulfate, an image on a photographic plate covered with a light-absorbing substance.
Uranium is soluble in hydrochloric and nitric acids, and it is insoluble in alkalies.
Uranium never occurs naturally in the free state but is found as an oxide or complex salt in minerals such as pitchblende and carnotite.
Uranium (2150 words)
A heavy, silvery-white, toxic, metallic, and naturally-radioactive element, uranium belongs to the actinide series and its isotope uranium-235 is used as the fuel for nuclear reactors and nuclear weapons.
The decay of uranium and its nuclear reactions with thorium in the Earth's core is thought to be the source for much of the heat that keeps the outer core liquid, which in turn drives plate tectonics.
Uranium does not absorb through the skin, and alpha particles released by uranium cannot penetrate the skin, so uranium that is outside the body is much less harmful than it would be if it were inhaled or swallowed.
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