Radioactive properties of uranium were first discovered by a chemist named Antoine Henri Becquerel in 1896. In its natural state, uranium or UO2 (uranium dioxide), provides sufficient radioactivity to be used for generating electricity and nuclear power. Only 0.72% of naturally occurring uranium is uranium-235, the only of the three elements that may be used for nuclear power. Uranium-234 and 238 are radioactive but are not fissionable materials needed for such use. Environmental uranium is capable of entering the human body through digestion and/or inhalation. Upon absorption, it enters the bloodstream and is quickly dispersed into kidney and bone or gets excreted with urine. Some of the dangers from uranium over-ingestion/inhalation include renal failure and adverse effects on nervous and cardiovascular systems, liver, and muscle.
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