Uranium: Description, Electron Configuration, Properties, Uses & Facts

Uranium: Description, Electron Configuration, Properties, Uses & Facts

Unveiling Uranium: A Comprehensive Look at the Element of Power


Uranium, a chemical element that has fascinated scientists and engineers alike, plays a pivotal role in various fields ranging from nuclear energy to medical applications. In this blog, we will explore the intriguing aspects of uranium, delving into its properties, compounds, reactions, occurrence, production, uses, and fascinating facts.

Basic Information:

Symbol: U

Latin Name: Uranium

Atomic Number: 92

Atomic Mass: 238.02891 u

Position in the Periodic Table: Actinide series, Group 20

Electron Configuration: [Rn] 5f³ 6d¹ 7s²

Electron Configuration: 

in long form: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 3d10 4s2 4p6 4d10 4f14 5s2 5p6 5d10 5f3 6s2 6p6 6d1 7s2

Valence electron: 2

Valency: Typically 6, although it can exhibit valencies ranging from 3 to 6.

Chemical and Physical Properties:

Chemical Properties:

Uranium is a highly reactive metal, forming various compounds with elements like oxygen, fluorine, and sulfur. Notable uranium compounds include uranium dioxide (UO₂), uranium hexafluoride (UF₆), and uranium tetrafluoride (UF₄).

Physical Properties:

  • Solid at room temperature.
  • Silvery-white, lustrous metal.
  • High density and melting point.
  • Radioactive with three isotopes: uranium-238 (U-238), uranium-235 (U-235), and uranium-234 (U-234).

Uranium Compounds:

1. Uranium Dioxide (UO₂):

Commonly used as nuclear reactor fuel.

2. Uranium Hexafluoride (UF₆):

Utilized in the uranium enrichment process for nuclear fuel production.

3. Uranium Tetrafluoride (UF₄):

An intermediate compound in the conversion of uranium hexafluoride to uranium dioxide.

Chemical Reaction with Other Elements:

Uranium exhibits a range of chemical reactions, primarily forming compounds with elements like oxygen, fluorine, and sulfur. For instance, the reaction of uranium with oxygen results in the formation of uranium dioxide (UO₂), a key component in nuclear fuel.

Occurrence and Production:


Uranium is found in various minerals, with the primary sources being uraninite, carnotite, and pitchblende. These ores are mined and processed to extract uranium.


Uranium production involves mining, milling, and conversion processes. The extracted uranium is then enriched to increase the concentration of U-235 for nuclear fuel.


1. Nuclear Energy:

  • Primary fuel for nuclear power plants.
  • Generates electricity through controlled nuclear fission reactions.

2. Medical Applications:

  • Uranium widely  used in radiation therapy for cancer treatment.
  • Radioactive isotopes for diagnostic imaging.

3. Military Applications:

  • Uranium-235 is used in the production of nuclear weapons.

4. Smoke Detectors:

  • Uranium is used in small amounts in ionization-type smoke detectors.

5. Scientific Research:

  • Utilized as a radiation source in laboratories.

Fascinating Facts:

  • Uranium-235 is fissile, meaning it can sustain a chain reaction, making it ideal for nuclear power generation.
  • Marie and Pierre Curie discovered radium and polonium while studying pitchblende, a uranium ore.
  • The half-life of uranium-238 is approximately 4.5 billion years, contributing to the Earth's natural radioactivity.


Uranium, with its unique properties and diverse applications, remains a critical element in the realms of energy, medicine, and scientific research. As technological advancements continue, the responsible and sustainable use of uranium is essential for harnessing its potential while mitigating potential risks. The story of uranium unfolds in the laboratories, power plants, and medical facilities, leaving an indelible mark on the trajectory of human progress.

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