The Joy Of Pendantry – Rod Liddle Version

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Liddle:

In a touching display of loyalty to her leader, Forbes utilised Jeremy Corbyn’s usual excuse when he has been caught doing anti-semitic stuff, ie, insisted that she was as dense as a block of enriched uranium and very sorry to boot — “Didn’t understand, must learn, oooh how silly I’ve been.”

Yes, we can see, “enriched uranium” sounds so much more, well, more, than “uranium”. Except enriched uranium is actually less dense than natural or unenriched uranium:

Many contemporary uses of uranium exploit its unique nuclear properties. Uranium-235 is the only naturally occurring fissile isotope, which makes it widely used in nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons. However, because of the tiny amounts found in nature, uranium needs to undergo enrichment so that enough uranium-235 is present. Uranium-238 is fissionable by fast neutrons, and is fertile, meaning it can be transmuted to fissile plutonium-239 in a nuclear reactor. Another fissile isotope, uranium-233, can be produced from natural thorium and is also important in nuclear technology. Uranium-238 has a small probability for spontaneous fission or even induced fission with fast neutrons; uranium-235 and to a lesser degree uranium-233 have a much higher fission cross-section for slow neutrons.

U-238 – unless there’s something very weird about uranium indeed – will be denser than U-235. The process of enriching uranium is to take the U-238 away, meaning that we’re taking the denser stuff away from the less dense. And, actually, it’s this difference in mass – close to but not exactly the same as density – which we use to separate U-238 from U-235.

Ah, the joys of pendantry.