Plutonium Isotope Analysis

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1. Identifies a radioisotope that could be used as a fuel to produce electricity in Australia
Plutonium 239 is a radioactive isotope that is a possible fuel source that could be used to produced electricity in Australia.

2. Describes how the isotope is produced (from raw materials)
This element can be found naturally occurring in the earth's crust. Due to its relatively short half-life, it decays before it can be mined, extracted and used. It can also be found in trace amounts within uranium deposits. Plutonium 239 however, can be formed synthetically and is a byproduct of uranium. Once uranium 238 decays and undergoes fusion, it is then extracted by burning the uranium, which is a process used in nuclear reactors, and then collected
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Outlines the physical properties of the isotope
The Physical properties of Plutonium 239

Colour: Plutonium is an actinide metal of silver colour, it forms an outer coating of dull grey appearance and begins to tarnish when exposed to oxygen.
Melting Point: 639.5°C
Boiling point: 3228°C.
Density: 19.816 g/cm3 (at room temperature)
Half-Life: 24110
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2s2 2p6. 3s2 3p6 3d10. 4s2 4p6 4d10 4f14. 5s2 5p6 5d10 5f6. 6s2 6p6. 7s2

6. Outline the chemical properties (including its position in the periodic table)
Plutonium is placed 94th on the periodic table, which is equivalent to its atomic number. It is located in the Actinide metals section and also the F-block.

Chemical Properties:

Reaction with air:
- When plutonium is exposed to air it begins to oxidise, it forms a yellowish-brown outer coat and begins to tarnish.

Soluble in:
- Hydrochloric acid

Insoluble in:
- Nitric acid
- Concentrated hydrogen sulfide

The Critical Mass:
- Around 300 grams which is only about a third of that of Uranium 235

Allotopic Structures:
- Plutonium exhibits six forms of crystalline structures. The only form that exists at room temperature is the alpha structure. It has the highest electrical resistivity of any metallic
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