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Uranium (U)

 

The Deadliest Metal

Uranium is a hard, dense, malleable, ductile, silver-white, radioactive metal. Uranium ores are found in only a few places, usually in hard rock, such as granite. Uranium is commonly found as the mineral uraninite or as pitchblende, which is a form of uraninite mixed with other minerals. Marie Curie first identified polonium, radium and helium from a sample of pitchblende. Unlike most metals that are mined for multiple uses and markets, uranium's main use is as a nuclear fuel in power generation.   Uranium is also used to date many rocks. It is one of the very is useful dating elements because it found in minute amounts in many ancient rocks. Some uranium isotopes have half lives of millions of years to they offer a good tool to date the oldest rocks on earth.

Uranium is one of the rarer metals in Cornwall. In the 19th century it was mainly used to colour glass and ceramics. It was in the 1940s and 1950s that uranium began to be used in nuclear weapons and power stations.

Data Panel: Uranium Ore: Uraninite

UO2 Uranium oxide
colour
Black brown
hardness
6
Crystal system
Botryoidal
Crystal habit
Uncommon, usually massive or grannular
Lustre
Submetallic, greasy
Streak
Black brownish
Fracture
Conchoidal, uneven
Other characteristics
 

 


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