The isotope Plutonium was synthesized by Seaborg, Mc Millan, Kennedy and Wahl in 1940 by deuteron bombardment of uranium in a cyclotron (a device used to accelerate atomic particles) at Berkeley, California, USA.Plutonium was the second transuranium element of the actinide series to be discovered.
Pu, which has a half-life of more than 20000 years.
One kilogram is equivalent to about 22 million kilowatt hours of heat energy.
The complete detonation of a kilogram of plutonium produces an explosion equal to about 20000 tons of chemical explosive.
The various nuclear applications of plutonium are well known.
The solid state structure of plutonium is: monoclinic.
Plutonium atoms have 94 electrons and the shell structure is 2.8..8.2.VERA, the Vienna Environmental Research Accelerator, is especially equipped for the measurement of actinides, and performs a growing number of measurements on environmental samples.While AMS is not the optimum method for each particular plutonium isotope, the possibility to measure Pu ratio, which allows dating of the time of irradiation based solely on Pu isotopes.We have checked the validity of this estimate using literature data, simulations, and environmental samples from soil from the Salzburg prefecture (Austria), from the shut down Garigliano Nuclear Power Plant (Sessa Aurunca, Italy) and from the Irish Sea near the Sellafield nuclear facility.The maximum deviation of the estimated dates from the expected ages is 6 years, while relative dating of material from the same source seems to be possible with a precision of less than 2 years.Additional information carried by the minor plutonium isotopes may allow further improvements of the precision of the method. The destruction of molecules by stripping and the combination of several spectrometers, permits AMS to suppress background better than other methods.