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Box 5.1 Impacts of radiation
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Plutonium is created when neutrons emitted from the fission of U-235 atoms are absorbed by some of the left-over U-238 atoms. However much you try to increase the proportion of U-235 in natural uranium (a process know as ‘enrichment’) there is always some U-238 left – and it is this that gets converted into plutonium, a new, heavier element (its designation is Pu-239).