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Radiometric dating--the process of determining the age of rocks from the decay of their radioactive elements--has been in widespread use for over half a century.

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U-238 is the most abundant form in the environment. Enriched uranium can be in the form of small pellets that are packaged in the long tubes used in nuclear reactors. When it has been refined and enriched, uranium is a silvery-white metal. Because uranium decays by alpha particles, external exposure to uranium is not as dangerous as exposure to other radioactive elements because the skin will block the alpha particles.

U-235 can be concentrated in a process called “enrichment,” making it suitable for use in nuclear reactors or weapons. Ingestion of high concentrations of uranium, however, can cause severe health effects, such as cancer of the bone or liver.

U-238 decays very slowly, its half-life being about the same as the age of the Earth (4500 million years).

This means that it is barely radioactive, less so than many other isotopes in rocks and sand.

Many Christians have been led to distrust radiometric dating and are completely unaware of the great number of laboratory measurements that have shown these methods to be consistent.

Many are also unaware that Bible-believing Christians are among those actively involved in radiometric dating.

Natural uranium as found in the Earth's crust is a mixture largely of two isotopes: uranium-238 (U-238), accounting for 99.3% and uranium-235 (U-235) about 0.7%.

The isotope U-235 is important because under certain conditions it can readily be split, yielding a lot of energy.

Wiens has a Ph D in Physics, with a minor in Geology.

His Ph D thesis was on isotope ratios in meteorites, including surface exposure dating.

For more information about U-235 and U-238, see the Public Health Statement by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry at

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