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Though not considered a nulear weapon as such, uranium 238 is also popular with the American Military as a projectile point. It's properties of high density and auto porificy (ability to burn on its own) create an efficient penitrating round. Slammed at mach 2 into a target the projectile burns at 10,000 deg fahrenheit. This throws a fountain of Uranium 238 nano-particles into the air, water and soil. As a nano-particle the u-238 is highly toxic and effectively reduces the population of disputed areas.
- doesn't this paragraph relate to "depleted uranium," not pure U-238?
- YES, and its neologisms are really typos
I just want to add: "u-238 is highly toxic and effectively reduces the population of disputed areas" is not quite right, there are no documented cases of health effects from Uranium in the concentrations that we talk about from weapons use without nuclear reactions. It is true that it was accused for the higher rate of leukemia in Kosovo, BUT the leukemia came far to fast for that. The probable reason was the chemicals spread from driving charge, oil, explosives and similar. which are known to cause fast leukemia!Seniorsag (talk) 14:16, 17 October 2014 (UTC)
Initial section seems to be rambling
To me the second paragraph of the article is rather unfocused rambling about other uranium isotopes and military usage of them rather than 238U
I would suggest:
Uranium-238 (238U or U-238) is the most common isotope of uranium found in nature. It is not fissile, but is a fertile material: it can capture a slow neutron and after two beta decays become fissile plutonium-239. 238U is fissionable by fast neutrons, but cannot support a chain reaction because inelastic scattering reduces neutron energy below the range where fast fission is probable.
Uranium-238 has a half-life of 4.468×109 years (or 4.468 billion years) and is the major component of natural uranium. The isotopes of 238U, 235U and 234U in natural uranium have mass percentages of 99.2837%, 0.7110% and 0.0053%, respectively, with 234U and 238U presenting equal radioactivity.
I would also use the citation: http://nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/pdfs/U-238.pdf or something similar for both the half life and the percentages rather than a blatantly military one.
Using "inelastic scattering" as a catchword
A moderator, typically composed of low atomic weight material that shares and depletes neutron energy, would be an example of inelastic scattering. A neutron bounces off any Uranium atom (elastic) with most of its original velocity intact. Perhaps "the moderator required to produce thermal neutrons for the U235 interferes with U238 fission"? Article doesn't mention but bomb articles mention U235 gives average 2.6 available neutrons (1-5) per fission. Does U238 produce less? One of the wiki reactor articles notes that average 15% of reactor (low enriched fuel) fissions are U238. In a bomb of course most all fissions are by fast neutrons, c.f. Neutron source, with a significant contribution by Gamma rays released by the fission reaction. Shjacks45 (talk) 09:37, 8 August 2011 (UTC)