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Made in 1957 by Union Carbide & Carbon company, PETRIFIED RIVER describes the modern romance of the present-day West in the search for uranium. It shows modern uranium prospecting, including prospecting by airplane, as well as mining in the Colorado Plateau. It also discusses the uses of radioactive isotopes at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Uranium is a chemical element with symbol U and atomic number 92. It is a silvery-white metal in the actinide series of the periodic table. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons. Uranium is weakly radioactive because all its isotopes are unstable (with half-lives of the 6 naturally known isotopes, uranium-233 to uranium-238, varying between 69 years and 4.5 billion years). The most common isotopes of uranium are uranium-238 (which has 146 neutrons and accounts for almost 99.3% of the uranium found in nature) and uranium-235 (which has 143 neutrons, accounting for 0.7% of the element found naturally). Uranium has the second highest atomic weight of the primordially occurring elements, lighter only than plutonium. Its density is about 70% higher than that of lead, but slightly lower than that of gold or tungsten. It occurs naturally in low concentrations of a few parts per million in soil, rock and water, and is commercially extracted from uranium-bearing minerals such as uraninite.

In nature, uranium is found as uranium-238 (99.2739–99.2752%), uranium-235 (0.7198–0.7202%), and a very small amount of uranium-234 (0.0050–0.0059%). Uranium decays slowly by emitting an alpha particle. The half-life of uranium-238 is about 4.47 billion years and that of uranium-235 is 704 million years,making them useful in dating the age of the Earth.

Many contemporary uses of uranium exploit its unique nuclear properties. Uranium-235 has the distinction of being the only naturally occurring fissile isotope. Uranium-238 is fissionable by fast neutrons, and is fertile, meaning it can be transmuted to fissile plutonium-239 in a nuclear reactor. Another fissile isotope, uranium-233, can be produced from natural thorium and is also important in nuclear technology. While uranium-238 has a small probability for spontaneous fission or even induced fission with fast neutrons, uranium-235 and to a lesser degree uranium-233 have a much higher fission cross-section for slow neutrons. In sufficient concentration, these isotopes maintain a sustained nuclear chain reaction. This generates the heat in nuclear power reactors, and produces the fissile material for nuclear weapons. Depleted uranium (238U) is used in kinetic energy penetrators and armor plating.

Uranium is used as a colorant in uranium glass producing orange-red to lemon yellow hues. It was also used for tinting and shading in early photography. The 1789 discovery of uranium in the mineral pitchblende is credited to Martin Heinrich Klaproth, who named the new element after the planet Uranus. Eugène-Melchior Péligot was the first person to isolate the metal and its radioactive properties were discovered in 1896 by Henri Becquerel. Research by Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner, Enrico Fermi and others, such as J. Robert Oppenheimer starting in 1934 led to its use as a fuel in the nuclear power industry and in Little Boy, the first nuclear weapon used in war. An ensuing arms race during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union produced tens of thousands of nuclear weapons that used uranium metal and uranium-derived plutonium-239. The security of those weapons and their fissile material following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 is an ongoing concern for public health and safety.

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This film is part of the Periscope Film LLC archive, one of the largest historic military, transportation, and aviation stock footage collections in the USA. Entirely film backed, this material is available for licensing in 24p HD and 2k. For more information visit


  1. Jake Bolocoye on July 6, 2021 at 12:12 pm

    So, I figured it out, why the ground wire is essential to the mining industry lightning-strike analytics are how the elite gain analytic information of where to mine. So WoW ha now every one knows. No longer you can absorb all industries.

  2. Tufan Kar on July 6, 2021 at 12:14 pm

    i love seeing these things on youtube.

  3. 21st century Jeronimo on July 6, 2021 at 12:14 pm

    It’s not devils it’s Human Nature. Might as well realize the devil in yourself when you get so angry your first an immediate answer is to have someone killed instead of attempting to further understand the situation. It’s alarming how many people jump to wishing death to someone over the most minor things

  4. ThinkingBetter on July 6, 2021 at 12:15 pm

    It’s a bit sad to see how uranium mining was done long ago. Those workers scraping off the yellow cake like if it was innocent mud didn’t live long.

  5. Pegleg Noid on July 6, 2021 at 12:17 pm

    Devils work.

  6. Jeffrey Bobeck on July 6, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    I think the old man at 24:47 was in more than one of the 1950s educational filmstrips.

  7. Thermal on July 6, 2021 at 12:25 pm

    why have i not subscribed to you. this will end

  8. Hubbell Rowe on July 6, 2021 at 12:26 pm

    Is it just me in thinking that the use of radioactive iodine to test the activity of a thyroid was a bad idea? How do we know that this practice itself does not increase the risk of thyroid cancer?

  9. MrStaybrown on July 6, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    I know a guy who worked at a ChurchRock NM Uranium mine, he believes what his superiors told him, which is its totally safe as long as you wear a badge that monitors exposure. The company used that information to legally protect themselves not the miners.

  10. Little Ricky'sFlyingCircus on July 6, 2021 at 12:29 pm

    what a crock of b.s.

  11. Mike Marley on July 6, 2021 at 12:32 pm

    Warning ,scientists have been known to cause cancer in lab animals.

  12. Kraytos X on July 6, 2021 at 12:32 pm

    America gets its uranium from Area 51

  13. Kent Courtney on July 6, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    The underground railroad operation using a compressed air locomotive is particularly fascinating.

  14. Jake Bolocoye on July 6, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    it’s not a planet you fool. Let me explain once and for all because we forgot one aspect it’s important, I’m going to explain but first let me say nuclear is fake, the whole gimmick of yellowcake is a fraud. I wouldn’t be surprised if the trucks weren’t fully using electric motors and lithium batteries even. So on powering cities you need to research water to electricity. So who are you going to believe? That they use a fairytail nuclear or something else is causing world changes. Global warming well it is close but it’s not true either. UV rays have gotten stronger but it’s because the Shram & Ram jet engines using up the upper atmosphere at along the upper atmosphere. And the thing that was overlooked was A new system my committed to using recently AC power, the debate was ensued to no end for what? to be stubborn, NO! I just figured it out and it’ll make you cry or laugh. Listen Power has P=I*R but the missing equation is the ground wire. Every AC system has one. That was the secret. That is what they don’t want you to research. Since it’s not a planet. Doing something as pushing extra power into the land below has a reaction. This is why a city has no full enterprise capable of being efficient we are doing a service to the elite for free. No who can explain the ground wires roll in how are lives are different than before we started doing that shit? Electricity does have a supreme role in growing rocks. So do not ignore me, I want a business of my own but this system we devoted to is flawed and contrived by hell itself. So you swabbies learn this stuff with me or starve to death wherever they want you. Don’t be sheep, use your God given brain.

  15. Bingo Sun Noon on July 6, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    I worked as a pilot carrying Navajo miners to the cancer clinic in Gallup and Springerville. None of these miners ever received damages. The final insult was when Reagan stopped their medical care. Nothing but toxic.

  16. Davdski on July 6, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    That fucking music

  17. K Dill on July 6, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    Irradiated meat yum

  18. WTX Railfan on July 6, 2021 at 12:47 pm

    Boy Howdy! I wanna get me some of that thar ‘ranium. Sounds like great stuff.

  19. Satan Official on July 6, 2021 at 12:48 pm


  20. BRIAN CAM on July 6, 2021 at 12:49 pm

    "That he might investigate and wonder the Handy work of GOD" == HOPE vs. Religion of NO NUKE== (Satan’s Angel==Pegleg Noid) is destroying EARTH by advocating for Fossil Fuels. Close a Nuclear reactor == always replace with fossil fuels == Increased Emissions=Global warming ++ SMOG ++ Asthma ++ 38500 USA Deaths/yr. NO-NUKE = Satan Angels, Goal==Make Earth HELL, Safe for Microbes and human extinction.

  21. Mountain Meadow Mormonism on July 6, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    Around 18:08 "It is this heat that makes atomic energy possible". Well, not exactly. We create hell on earth to heat WATER it is the high temperature water that makes steam to drive a turbine, etc. atomic heat is out of this world. Fukushima proved that. Chernobyl is orders of magnitude beneath Fuku. Five Mile Island was nothing. The first incident to occur, in Idaho, was nothing but when we add up all those "Nothing" "nuclear incidents" we do have something:: A really high failure rate, all these reactors are over 40 years old and now there is hell on earth to pay for it. This is no way to heat water. Ending::"The handy work of God"

  22. Ciprian Popa on July 6, 2021 at 12:57 pm

    Uranium drives our planet. Literally. Mountains, continent drifting, nucleus spinning, and bulbs lightning.

  23. Fran Stein on July 6, 2021 at 12:59 pm

    How many of these trusting workers died because of government lies?

  24. Pelican1984 on July 6, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    11:20 Uravan Colorado plant.

  25. SnowTiger45 on July 6, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    mmmm Yummy .. Irradiated Meat. It sounds so appetizing ! NOT !

  26. Marie Ferran on July 6, 2021 at 1:02 pm

    Very interesting!

  27. FixItStupid on July 6, 2021 at 1:05 pm

    But Dave What about 3 NUCLEAR MELTDOWNS, STILL BURNING …Japan, So Why Its. A Nuclear END. One Way, Or The Other. 1957 The Price Anderson Act. Legalized Nuclear Murder.. In 1970 The Book " Population Control Though Nuclear Pollution " By Dr.Tamplin & Dr Gofman Found That Cancer & 1800 Other Health Problems From Nuclear, Lie’s Killing The Earth & The Next Earth Quake. Do You Think They Fixed The Reactors? JAPAN 3 Nuclear Reactor Melt Downs, & All Contents Of Spent Fuel Pools, In The Pacific Ocean In Our Environment. Man-Made Nuclear Isotopes Are Now In The Hydrological Cycle. & In The Food Chain & Next Nuclear Disaster. Is A Mathematical Certainty ..Due To The Algorithm Of Greed..The Nuclear Lies Have Cost Us Everything…Bad Money = Nuclear WAR

  28. swingmanic on July 6, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    a long and well-developed understanding, based on the European experience earlier in the century, that uranium mining led to high rates of lung cancer, few protections were provided for US miners before 1962. Due to the resulting high
    rates of illness among miners it took until 1990 for the passage of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. The lives of miners working in the mining of uranium were cheap. Doctors didn’t need to give chest x-rays to know what they were diagnosing when these poor guys were brought into the hospital coughing up blood!

  29. Tim Dybala on July 6, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    I was born 20 years too late.

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