Uses Of Actinides
Even though hazards are associated with radioactivity of actinides, many beneficial applications exist as well. Radioactive nuclides are used in cancer therapy, analytical chemistry, and in basic research in the study of chemical structures and mechanisms. The explosive power of uranium and plutonium are well exploited in making atom bombs. In fact, the uranium enriched atom bomb that exploded over Japan was the first uranium bomb released. Nuclear reactions of uranium-235 and plutonium-239 are currently utilized in atomic energy powerplants to generate electric power. Thorium is economically useful for the reason that fissionable uranium-233 can be produced from thorium-232. Plutonium-238 is used in implants in the human body to power the heart pacemaker, which is does not need to be replaced for at least 10 years. Curium-244 and plutonium-238 emit heat at 2.9 watts and 0.57 watts per gram, respectively. Therefore, curium and plutonium are used as power sources on the Moon to provide electrical energy for transmitting messages to Earth.