Depleted uranium

  • The amount of uranium present after removing the enriched fraction has 99.8% of 238U, 0.001% of 234U and 0.2% of 235U by mass; this event is called the depleted uranium (DU).
  • The difference between natural uranium and DU is that the later contains three times less of 235U than the former.
  • DU is mildly radioactive and its radiation dose is only 60% from that of the purified uranium found in nature with equal mass.
  • DU reacts the same way as the natural uranium would inside the human body.
  • Expended uranium fuel left from a nuclear reactor is reprocessed to make them enriched with natural uranium in plants. Radioisotopes created from reactors can contaminate the DU and the reprocessing machines. If this should happen, 236U can be present with the DU, along with minute amounts of technetium-99 and transuranic elements such as neptunium, americium and plutonium. Additional radiation dose after taking DU inside the body from the mentioned isotopes is less than one percent.

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