5 Quick Facts About Plutonium


Atom bomb explosion over Nagasaki

Plutonium is one of the elements on the periodic table of elements. It’s radioactive and has an atomic number of 94.

1. Plutonium is a primordial element. A primordial element is something that has existed in its current form ever since the earth was formed!

2. However, plutonium is not a very stable element. It decays very fast. And it’s fast decaying capabilities mean that traces of plutonium should not be found on earth, technically at least.

3. Luckily for us, plutonium can be found on earth. Not a lot of it. Just traces. This is because plutonium’s most stable isotope, plutonium-244 has a half-life of 80 million years! A half-life is the time required for half of an element’s unstable atoms to undergo radioactive decay.

4. Plutonium was first discovered and isolated as an element in the year 1940 by the famous scientist Glenn T.Seaborg and his team.

5.  During World War II, plutonium isotopes were also used in atom bombs, one of which was used to destroy the Japanese city of Nagasaki. It was only after the bombings did the world come to know that an element such as a plutonium existed.

6. Like all radioactive elements, plutonium is dangerous to the environment and to living beings. Exposure to plutonium causes a lot of health problems such as radiation sickness, genetic damage, cancer etc.

7. Quite a few plutonium isotopes are capable of sustaining nuclear chain reactions. Because of this, they are most commonly used as fuel to run nuclear chain reactors.

8. Do not ever try to taste plutonium to test the accuracy of this fact – but according to experiments conducted soon after its discovery – plutonium has a metallic taste.

What interesting facts do you know about Plutonium? Share them with us in the comments section below!

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Padma loves to read, write and listen to music. She enjoys writing about education and talking about it too. Someday in the future, she hopes to become a novelist too.


  1. Pingback: From The Trivia Vault: Titanium | The Teachers Digest

  2. Georgia Powell on

    Plutonium does have a metallic taste,an that is because it is formed in lead an Cooper elements,and one thing most people are not aware of is that plutonium is only found in the south Western hemisphere.

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