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Nature 234, 132 - 134 (19 November 1971); doi:10.1038/234132a0

Detection of Plutonium-244 in Nature

D. C. HOFFMAN*, F. O. LAWRENCE*, J. L. MEWHERTER & F. M. ROURKE

*Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, University of California, Los Alamos, New Mexico
General Electric Company, Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory, Schenectady, New York

Mass spectrometric measurements of plutonium isolated from Precambrian bastnasite confirm the presence of 244Pu in nature. Although the existence of 244Pu as an extinct radioactivity has been postulated to explain the xenon isotope ratios observed in meteorites, this is the first indication of its present existence in nature.

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