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plutonium

Pronunciation: plu-to'ne-um

Definition: A transuranium artificial radioactive element, atomic no. 94, atomic wt. 244.064. The best-known a-emitting isotope is 239Pu (half-life 24,110 years) which, like 235U, is fissionable and can be used in atomic bombs and nuclear power plants; 238Pu (half-life 87.74 years) is used as an energy source in pacemakers. Pu ions are bone-seekers; ingestion is a radiation hazard, as with radium and radiostrontium.

[planet, Pluto]

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© Copyright 2017 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.
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