Production of nuclear material
The metals uranium and plutonium are radioactive chemical elements. Both substances can be extracted in mines, but plutonium can be found extremely rarely in the earth's crust so that it is mostly produced artificially.
Uranium is found in very low concentrations in the ground and in water. The IAEO classes deposits with a high concentration of uranium in 14 different categories. The concentration of uranium ore in rocks fluctuates, and various procedures are used to extract it. Morocco is one of the countries with the largest amount of uranium resources which, however, have not yet been exploited. The largest deposits are found in Australia and Namibia.
Plutonium plays a major role in the building of nuclear weapons. It is found either in the spent fuel elements of nuclear power plants or is especially generated in reprocessing plants. One other possibility of use is the contested blend of plutonium with other oxides of fissile material in mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, which was used in Fukushima. In spacecraft, plutonium can also be found in radionuclide batteries to provide power to satellites and space probes. The danger of this element is not its poisonousness but its radioactivity.