Depleted uranium is obtained as a second product during the production of enhancing Uranium that can be used as a fuel in the formation of nuclear canons.
The process of enhancement can produce uranium with low mass and high concentration of isotopes than the natural uranium after the huge amount of feed can from the depleted uranium.
The two functions of the mass of isotopes like U-234 and U-235 are larger than natural uranium. The isotope of U-238 has the largest half-life period of the lower isotopes. The depleted uranium discharge lower alpha rays than the NU.
History of Depleted Uranium
First of all enhanced uranium was formed in the decays of the. It was that time when the British and United States started to form nuclear canons. After that decayed, the soviet union and the French started their program of forming nuclear canons and having nuclear power.
The DU can be stored in the form of waste that is an impracticable product. It is done with the hope that the process of enhancement is improved and advances the qualities of an isotope of U 235. The recovery of the re-enhancement of wasted U 235 nowadays can be used in many parts of the earth.
Availability and production of Uranium
The metal of uranium present in nature has the following percentage of isotopes. These are U 238 is 99.28%, U 235 is 0.71% and U 234 is 0.0054%. The manufacturing of enhanced uranium with help of separation of isotopes can produce the DU that may only contain U 235 infraction of 0.2 to 0.4%.
What is Uranium hexafluoride?
Mostly the DU can be stored in the form of solid poisonous crystalline uranium hexafluoride in the cylinders which are made up of steel in the storage tanks that is near the plant of enhancement. Every cylinder can hold uranium hexafluoride up to 127 tons. If the depleted uranium hexafluoride is stored, It can cause risks to environmental safety and health because it is unstable chemically.
When the uranium hexafluoride leaks out in the air as vapors, it can react with vapors and form the gas of hydrogen florid. The formation of the plug can slow down the release of gas like hydrogen florid in the air. The cylinder can be checked regularly and repaired if it is necessary.
Civilian Application of Depleted Uranium
The density of depleted uranium is very high and initially is used in the materials of radioactivity as a source of shielding materials and bombs. For example, used as shielding of cameras and radiography in industries.
Used as a shield
The DU can be used as a shield in cameras to protect persons or organisms from the source of gamma rays. The shield of uranium is supported and with this in the foam of polyurethanes for oxidation mechanical and thermal protection.
Source of coloring
The reagents of uranium are used in the laboratories of chemistry. Natural and depleted uranium both are used as the material of coloration in glass in the era of the 19th and 20th centuries.
Depleted uranium applications in health
The depleted uranium has chemical toxicity. And it is indistinguishable from that uranium which is present naturally. Natural uranium has a million times larger radiological exposure than depleted uranium.
And the kidney is considered the main organ that can be targeted. The factors of depleted uranium that affect health can be determined by us, it may be external or internal.
Military Application of depleted uranium
Depleted uranium has a very high density. Due to the high density of depleted uranium, it is used in armor tanks in between the sheets of armor and the plate that is made up of steel.
DU is used in nuclear bombs as a source of the reflector of the neutron. A temper with a high density like depleted uranium makes for a more powerful and long-lasting.
Radiological hazards of depleted uranium
Radioactive pollution can occur. The alpha rays can form the primary danger of radiation, which is present in purely form UD. The reason is that in the air it can go far away and can not be penetrated by clothes.
After a long time, the alpha rays of purely formed DU can release the beta particles. The rate of beta particles is the same as alpha particles.
It is estimated that the dangers of radiation are smaller than the chemical dangers.
Dr. Muhammad Adnan Asghar (Ph.D.)
Chinese Academy of Sciences Fuzhou, Fujian