Uranium Ore

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Uranium Ore
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These flakes of uranium ore have a distinct shine and are tinged with green, while a coarse powder has formed in which the bigger flakes sit. Uranium is a very common element in the earth’s crust. It is 40 times more common than silver and 500 times more common than gold. However, it is always contained in mineral deposits and cannot be found in its pure state. There are many varieties of minerals that contain uranium, however, only a few qualify as uranium ores. If the uranium in the mineral occurs in very complex combinations with other elements, or at very low levels, then it is not economically worthwhile to extract. This means that the definition of an ore material is dependent upon the economics of the time, and not simply on whether a mineral contains uranium or not. The uranium is extracted from the ore by various complex chemical reactions involving many steps. The final product is enriched uranium, an oxide of the form UO2. Uranium is the only naturally fissionable substance, which means its atoms can be split to release incredible amounts of energy. This energy release is what drives nuclear power plants, and nuclear weapons. Uranium is also naturally fluorescent, so areas of this sample will fluoresce a gentle green under UV light.

Sample ID: 302

Particularities

State
Solid
Compound
Found
Australia
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Categories
Mineral
Curiosities
Relationships
Ore | Green | Powder | Radioactive | Fluorescent | Nuclear power

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