Plutonium: Facts about the radioactive element

Plutonium is radioactive, but it doesn’t seem that harmful at first glance. It looks like any other metal, with a silvery sheen that turns dull in contact with the air. Queen Elizabeth II held a piece during a visit to Britain’s Atomic Energy Research facility at Harwell in 1957. It was warm to the touch, but it didn’t hurt.

According to the World Nuclear Association (opens in new tab)even eating it doesn’t really do any harm, although it’s definitely not recommended.

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