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These elements are also called the actinide elements.…
), carnotite (a potassium uranium vanadate), autunite (a calcium uranium phosphate), and torbernite (a copper uranium phosphate).
…members of the group, including uranium (the most familiar), occur naturally, most are man-made.
Both uranium and plutonium have been used in atomic weapons for their explosive power and currently are being employed in nuclear plants for the production of electrical power.
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Those discoveries led to the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction (December 2, 1942), the first atomic bomb test (July 16, 1945), the first atomic bomb dropped in warfare (August 6, 1945), the first atomic-powered submarine (1955), and the first full-scale nuclear-powered electrical generator (1957).
Fission occurs with slow neutrons in the relatively rare isotope uranium-235 (the only naturally occurring fissile material), which must be separated from the plentiful isotope uranium-238 for its various uses.
These and other recoverable uranium ores, as sources of nuclear fuels, contain many times more energy than all the known recoverable deposits of fossil fuels.
One pound of uranium yields as much energy as 1.4 million kilograms (3 million pounds) of coal.