Neptunium

Karolina 8A

What is Neptunium?

Neptunium was discovered in 1940 by Edward McMillan and Philip Abelson. It was named after the planet, Neptune, which was named after the god of the sea. It belongs to the Actinides and its atomic number is 93. Its symbol is Np. Neptunium is harmful due to its radioactivity. It occurs naturally on Earth, in uranium ores but can also be made by bombarding uranium with neutrons.


As a metal, neptunium has a sort of silver appearance. It has 20 isotopes, with none of them really being stable. The longest living isotope has a half-life of 2.14 million years, it is called neptunium-237. This isotope is used for neutron detection. Edward McMillan and Philip Abelson discovered neptunium-239, which has a half-life of 2.3 days.


Neptunium is radioactive, therefore harmful for living beings. Some researchers state that exposure to neptunium could lead to bone cancer. Neptunium-239 deposits in the bones and decays as plutonium-239. There are no records that state that neptunium is harmful to the environment and no real proof.

Plutonium can be created from neptunium. Neptunium-239 can decay into plutonium-239. When combined with neutrons, neptunium-237 can create plutonium-238.

Uses

Fun facts:

• Neptunium was named after the planet, Neptune. Neptune is next to Uranus in the solar system and Neptunium and Uranium are next to each other in the periodic table.


• Neptunium is a transuranium element, which is a name given to all elements after uranium in the periodic table.


•Neptunium, if not handled with caution, can cause tumors and cause problems in the organs and tissues.


•When bombarded with neutrons, neptunium can create plutonium.


• The element was once thought artificial, or man made.

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