Uranium Wonders (Post No.5726)

Compiled by London Swaminathan


Date: 2 December 2018

GMT Time uploaded in London – 20-49

Post No. 5726

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources including google, Wikipedia, Facebook friends and newspapers. This is a non- commercial blog.


Uranium Wonders

In 1912, R T Gunther of Oxford University a first century CE Roman villa onCape Posilipo on the Bay of Naples, and came across a mosaic in which therewere curiously coloured glass pieces. When these were analysed it wasdiscovered that their tint was due to the presence of uranium oxide. They mighthave deliberately added this mineral to colour the glass.

In 1998, researchers from the Natural History Museum, London, discovered thatthe lichen Trapelia involuta was happily growing on spoil heaps from an abandonedUranium mine in Cornwall, UK. X Ray investigations showed that the lichen wasabsorbing and storing, uranium in the walls of its outer fruit cells, althoughfor what purpose is not known. Yet the lichen appeared to be unaffected by it.

Although uranium is radioactive, it is not particularly rare and is moreabundant than tin. While uranium itself is not particularly dangerous, some ofits decay products do pose a threat, especially radon.

When a uranium-235 atom splits in two , it can produce all kinds of otherelements , but most tend to be in the weight range s of 90-105( krypton toruthenium) and 135-145(technetium to europium). Among the former isstrontium-90 which was particularly worrying. This element is easily absorbedby human beings and dangerously radioactive.
Another radioactive element released by uranium fission is iodine-131, which isequally worrying. During the nuclear reactor break down s in Sellafield, UK andChernobyl, Russia, this dangerously radio active element was absorbed by humanbeings.

Chemical Symbol U

Atomic number 92

Melting point 1132 degree C

Boiling point 3754 degree C

Uranium is a silvery, ductile, malleable, radioactive metal. It is one of the three fissile material s, the others being plutonium and thorium.

Uranium has three radioactive isotopes

Uranium 238 with a half life of 4-5 billion years
Uranium 235 with 700 millions years
Uranium 234 is produced when uranium 235 decays .

Uranium isotopes decay until they become lead. The presence of lead and uraniumhelp us to date the rocks. Even the earths age 4-57 billion year was discoveredin this way.

Atomic bomb
The first atom bomb used in Second World War was a uranium bomb. Code namedLittle Boy it was dropped on the Japanese city Hiroshima on 6 th August byAmerica. It destroyed 50000 buildings and 75000 people. Enriched uranium 235was used to make this bomb. Another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki on 9 thAugust.

The good use of uranium is in the production of electricity in the nuclearpower plants. In theory one kilogram of uranium can produce energy equivalentto 1500 tonnes of coal. So it is a big energy source. Nuclear power red navalvessels are used by several countries. Though there is lot of good things aboutthis element the biggest worry is disposing the wastage. More over the leftover of uranium reactors can be used to make bombs.

Large deposits of uranium are found in Canada, USA, Australia and South Africa..

Uranium compounds are used in industry.

The element was named after the Greek god Uranus, god of sky. The strange thingabout this element is some micro- organisms absorb it and survive without anybad effect. Bacterium Citrobacter readily absorbs uranyl ions. In 1789 M H Klaprothdiscovered uranium compound and named it Uranium. 

TAGS- uranium, atom bomb, radio active

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. Every invention of modern science has brought with it almost insurmountable problems. While the stunning advances or claimed benefits get wide publicity, the hidden risks and long term-almost permanent dangers go unnoticed. The main reason is that unlike the technologies used in the pre-scientific days, the new technologies spawned by modern science use natural products or processes in such a way as to render them unabsorbable or non-recylcalbe by nature. They thus pose a nearly permanet threat. Chemicals used in agriculture and food processing, plastics are prime examples. But the most dangerous instance is nuclear power- used whether in weaponry or so called ‘peaceful’ uses like generation of power. Science which shows how to use the nuclear power does not know how to dispose of the waste, which remain radioactive for thousands of years. The costs of decontaminating a used nuclear power plant are several times higher than the original cost of construction and the so called benefits. Besides the costs and risks associated with such power plants will have to be met by future generations, which do not derive any benefit out of the whole process. This is a serious moral question. The nuclear scientists who promote nuclear power act like the mafia. The academia, press and media also suppress the full facts and do not give publicity to the adverse effects. The recent disaster in the Japanese nuclear power plant Fukushima is reported to have contaminated large parts of North pacific ocean, and the contamination is still spreading. The so called safe levels of radiation are repaeatedly found to be unsafe. Almost no one seems to bother about the routine leaks, mishaps and such incidents, many of which go unreported.
    Nature does not produce or indulge in a product or process that it cannot deal with. Man in his pride has produced many products and processes none of which is amenable to natural control. Man conquers nature and destroys both himself and nature. This is all modern science and development are about.
    We see here the larger lesson and hidden message of the legend of Lord Shiva drinking the poison that came out of the churning of the ocean in search of nectar!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: