Stable form of Plutonium discovered accidentally

Scientists led by Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden Rossendorf have found new compound of Plutonium unexpectedly in France. The team was actually trying to create plutonium dioxide nano particles using different precursors. In the process, the plutonium at its pentavalent state showed a peculiar behavior. The scientists then learnt that the strange behavior of Plutonium at its pentavalent state was because it was stable! The team confirmed its stability using Pu M4 edge technology.

The experiment was repeated after 3 months and the element showed the same behavior. The scientists thus confirmed that Plutonium exhibited stability properties at its pentavalent state.

Significance

  • The unstable radioactive dangerous plutonium that is predominantly used in nuclear applications are tricky to transport, store and dispose.
  • The scientists were in the process of creating Plutonium Dioxide as it is relatively stable as compared to other radioactive materials. It does not dissolve in water
  • The major drawback of Plutonium waste is that when dumped underground, they contaminate water table to a radius of 10 km.

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