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Old 10-24-2015, 02:51 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by redpoint5 View Post
It is quite true. The radioactive material used in power plants is mined from the earth. In other words, it's already in nature, we just concentrated it to make it useful for power generation.
No, that's not the way it works. If you didn't pay attention in high school physics, and haven't figured out how to use Google, Wikipedia, and other web resources (or your local public library), it goes something like this:

The U-235 used in power plants is actually not all that radioactive, with a half-life around 700 million years. In nature, it goes through a chain of alpha & beta decays, eventually winding up as lead:

However, it also has the property that if you hit it with a slow neutron, it breaks apart into (usually) two chunks plus some extra neutrons &c, releasing a bunch of energy. The chunks can be (and usually are) much more radioactive than the original U-235.
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