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Uranium is a metallic-white element, number 92 in the periodic table, with the symbol U. It is found in the earth in the form of minerals such as pitchblende, carnotite, and urainite. Attention is focused on uranium because of its central role in the nuclear energy industry. Martin Heinrich Klaproth discovered uranium in 1789, naming it after the recently identified planet Uranus. However, it was not isolated until 1841. It is the heaviest naturally occurring element and it exists in 16 different isotopes, which have different configurations of nuclear particles. Naturally occurring uranium consists of a mixture of three of these isotopes, with more than 99 percent being uranium-238. Uranium is radioactive, which means that it emits particles and ultimately deteriorates into lead over thousands ...

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