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Plutonium

Similar term(s): Pu.

Definition:

Plutonium is a heavy, man-made, radioactive metallic element. The most important isotope is Pu-239, which has a half-life of 24 000 years. Pu-239 can be used in reactor fuel and is the primary isotope in nuclear weapons.

In the context of Chernobyl, an important radioisotope of Plutonium is Pu-241, which has a half-life of 14.4 years and decays into americium-241.

More:

All isotopes of plutonium are readily absorbed by the bones and can be lethal depending on the dose and duration of exposure.

Source: GreenFacts, based on CDC Glossary of Radiological Terms 

Related words:

Americium - Element

To read about this term in context:

GreenFacts Summary on the Chernobyl Nuclear Accident:

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