The WordPress blog website comes with a feature on the dashboard that lets you know what key words people are using to find your site. I just got two hits from people looking for “Plutonium Mining”.  Some folks out there are really confused.

My dear fellow: one does not mine plutonium. One mines uranium and breeds it into plutonium.  Plutonium may be had from two successive neutron absorption and beta decay events starting with U-238. Plutonium has two more protons than uranium, so two beta decay events have to occur to increase the proton count by two in the nucleus. And making certain actinide nuclei even more rich in neutrons is one way to encourage beta decay.

The age of the solar system is just too great for the heavy actinides to be left over from regional supernovae atomic weight building events. But imagine if plutonium was found in abundance in ore bodies. No doubt museum shelves would be full of artifacts fashioned from plutoniferous minerals. Glazed pots and fertility fetishes made from the pretty rock.  Perhaps the Egyptians might have had glow-in-the-dark burial artifacts and a hieroglyph for radiation burn or sudden hair loss.

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