CALIFORNIUM is a radioactive chemical element with the symbol Cf and atomic number 98. The

element was first synthesized in 1950 at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (then the University of California Radiation Laboratory), by bombarding curium with alpha particles (helium-4 ions). 

The sixth transuranium element to be created through synthesis, it belongs to the actinide family and has the second-highest atomic mass among any elements that have been created in quantities big enough to be seen with the naked eye (behind einsteinium). The university and the state of California in the United States were used to name the element.

CALIFORNIUM has two crystalline forms, one above and one below 900 °C (1,650 °F), under normal pressure. At high pressure, a third form can be found. At room temperature, California progressively tarnishes in the air. 

The +3 oxidation state predominates in compounds containing calornium. The twenty known isotopes of californium are most stable, with californium-251 having the longest half-life (898 years). The Earth's crust does not contain large amounts of the element due to its brief half-life.The most widely utilized isotope, [a] 252Cf, has a half-life of approximately 2.645 years and is created at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the United States and Research Institute of Atomic Reactors in Russia.

One of the few transuranium elements having useful applications is Californium. The majority of these uses take advantage of particular californium isotopes' ability to emit neutrons. with order to examine materials using neutron diffraction and neutron spectroscopy, for instance, californium is utilized as a source of neutrons. 

It can also be used to assist with the startup of nuclear reactors. California can also be used to create higher mass elements through nuclear fusion; for example, the element oganesson (atomic number 118) was created by hitting californium-249 atoms with calcium-48 ions. Californian users must consider radiological issues as well as the element's capacity to interfere with the production of red blood cells by bioaccumulating in skeletal tissue.


Large pieces of equipment with a man standing nearby.

The 60-inch-diameter (1.52 m) cyclotron used to first synthesize californium

Californium was first made at University of California Radiation Laboratory, Berkeley, by physics researchers Stanley Gerald Thompson, Kenneth Street Jr., Albert Ghiorso, and Glenn T. Seaborg, about February 9, 1950. It was the sixth transuranium element to be discovered; the team announced its discovery on March 17, 1950.

To produce californium, a microgram-size target of curium-242 (24296Cm) was bombarded with 35 MeV alpha particles (42He) in the 60-inch-diameter (1.52 m) cyclotron at Berkeley, which produced californium-245 (24598Cf) plus one free neutron (n).24296Cm + 42He → 24598Cf + 10n

To identify and separate out the element, ion exchange and adsorsion methods were undertaken. Only about 5,000 atoms of californium were produced in this experiment,[31] and these atoms had a half-life of 44 minutes.

The discoverers named the new element after the university and the state. This was a break from the convention used for elements 95 to 97, which drew inspiration from how the elements directly above them in the periodic table were named.[e] However, the element directly above #98 in the periodic table, dysprosium, has a name that means "hard to get at", so the researchers decided to set aside the informal naming convention. They added that "the best we can do is to point out [that] ... searchers a century ago found it difficult to get to California".

Weighable amounts of californium were first produced by the irradiation of plutonium targets at Materials Testing Reactor at National Reactor Testing Station, eastern Idaho; these findings were reported in 1954. The high spontaneous fission rate of californium-252 was observed in these samples. The first experiment with californium in concentrated form occurred in 1958.The isotopes 249Cf to 252Cf were isolated that same year from a sample of plutonium-239 that had been irradiated with neutrons in a nuclear reactor for five years.Two years later, in 1960, Burris Cunningham and James Wallman of Lawrence Radiation Laboratory of the University of California created the first californium compounds—californium trichloride, californium(III) oxychloride, and californium oxide—by treating californium with steam and hydrochloric acid.

The High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, started producing small batches of californium in the 1960s. By 1995, HFIR nominally produced 500 milligrams (0.018 oz) of californium annually.[38] Plutonium supplied by the United Kingdom to the United States under the 1958 US–UK Mutual Defence Agreement was used for making californium.

The Atomic Energy Commission sold 252Cf to industrial and academic customers in the early 1970s for $10 per microgram,[26] and an average of 150 mg (0.0053 oz) of 252Cf were shipped each year from 1970 to 1990.[40][f] Californium metal was first prepared in 1974 by Haire and Baybarz, who reduced californium(III) oxide with lanthanum metal to obtain microgram amounts of sub-micrometer thick films.[g]


Traces of californium can be found near facilities that use the element in mineral prospecting and in medical treatments.[44] The element is fairly insoluble in water, but it adheres well to ordinary soil; and concentrations of it in the soil can be 500 times higher than in the water surrounding the soil particles.[45]

Nuclear fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons testing prior to 1980 contributed a small amount of californium to the environment.[45] Californium isotopes with mass numbers 249, 252, 253, and 254 have been observed in the radioactive dust collected from the air after a nuclear explosion. Californium is not a major radionuclide at United States Department of Energy legacy sites since it was not produced in large quantities.

Californium was once believed to be produced in supernovas, as their decay matches the 60-day half-life of 254Cf. However, subsequent studies failed to demonstrate any californium spectra, and supernova light curves are now thought to follow the decay of nickel-56.

The transuranium elements from americium to fermium, including californium, occurred naturally in the natural nuclear fission reactor at Oklo, but no longer do so.

Spectral lines of californium, along with those of several other non-primordial elements, were detected in Przybylski's Star in 2008.


Californium-252 has a number of specialized uses as a strong neutron emitter; it produces 139 million neutrons per microgram per minute. This property makes it useful as a startup neutron source for some nuclear reactors and as a portable (non-reactor based) neutron source for neutron activation analysis to detect trace amounts of elements in samples.[h] Neutrons from californium are used as a treatment of certain cervical and brain cancers where other radiation therapy is ineffective. It has been used in educational applications since 1969 when Georgia Institute of Technology got a loan of 119 μg of 252Cf from the Savannah River Site. It is also used with online elemental coal analyzers and bulk material analyzers in the coal and cement industries.

Neutron penetration into materials makes californium useful in detection instruments such as fuel rod scanners; neutron radiography of aircraft and weapons components to detect corrosion, bad welds, cracks and trapped moisture; and in portable metal detectors.  

Neutron moisture gauges use 252Cf to find water and petroleum layers in oil wells, as a portable neutron source for gold and silver prospecting for on-the-spot analysis, and to detect ground water movement. The main uses of 252Cf in 1982 were, reactor start-up (48.3%), fuel rod scanning (25.3%), and activation analysis (19.4%).  By 1994, most 252Cf was used in neutron radiography (77.4%), with fuel rod scanning (12.1%) and reactor start-up (6.9%) as important but secondary uses. In 2021, fast neutrons from 252Cf were used for wireless data transmission. 

251Cf has a very small calculated critical mass of about 5 kg (11 lb),[67] high lethality, and a relatively short period of toxic environmental irradiation. The low critical mass of californium led to some exaggerated claims about possible uses for the element.

In October 2006, researchers announced that three atoms of oganesson (element 118) had been identified at Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, from bombarding 249Cf with calcium-48, making it the heaviest element ever made. The target contained about 10 mg of 249Cf deposited on a titanium foil of 32 cm2 area.

 Californium has also been used to produce other transuranium elements; for example, lawrencium was first synthesized in 1961 by bombarding californium with boron nuclei.

Does Borno State Have Plenty of "Californium" As Al-mustapha Claims?

Declaration: There was an allegation that Californium-252, a highly radioactive element, was present in significant quantities in Borno, one of the Northeastern States.

Full Narrative: Californianium -252 is a highly radioactive element that is abundant in Borno state, according to retired Major-General Hamza Almustapha, a former Action Alliance (AA) presidential candidate and former chief security officer to the late General Sani Abacha.

On December 6, 2022, the former intelligence officer stated this while a guest on the "Reality Radio and Television Magazine Program" hosted by the Brekete Family. 

California-252, a precious stone, is to blame for the Boko Haram insurgency and other security issues that have plagued the state for more than ten years, claims Hamza Al-Mustapha.  

The 62-year-old retired military veteran advised Nigerians to use Google to look up the cost of the $27 million per gram element californium-252. Almustapha further claimed in the widely shared radio program video that the oil spills and pollution plaguing the oil-rich Niger Delta region are nothing more than a 'game plan' executed by powerful forces to further their own narrow interests. 

Observations: Almustapha reportedly made the revelation during the election campaign, when the majority of presidential contenders were busy attending town hall meetings, media appearances, and other political events to advance their candidacies.

Verification: A brief Google search of the most expensive elements in the world revealed that Californian uranium is one of them, according to PRNigeria. Polonium-209 ($49.2 trillion), Actinium-255 ($29 trillion), Technetium-99m ($1.9 trillion), Berkelium-249 ($185 billion), Californium-249 ($185 billion), Curium-248 ($160 billion), Californium-252 ($60 billion), and Curium-244 ($185 million) are a few of the most expensive elements. 

Further investigation reveals, however, that Californium-252 is used in research institutions and laboratories for a variety of purposes, not in consumer goods or in large quantities for commercial use. Californianium (Cf-252) is a synthetic, or man-made, chemical element, meaning that it is not found naturally occurring in nature but is instead produced artificially, according to further research by PRNigeria on, an online learning platform used by over 30 million students each month.

The word "California"—the name of the American state where the element was initially found and synthesized—is the source of the name "Californium."

Californianium, which may cost millions of dollars per gram, is an extremely rare and expensive element, as PRNigeria has discovered. It is normally utilized in very limited quantities and only by highly specialized organizations or research institutions due to its expensive cost and radioactive nature.

In order to confirm the existence of Californianium in Borno state, PRNigeria used several search engine choices and also got in touch with a number of people. The element cannot be discovered or processed anywhere in the state that is known to the general public. 

Conclusion: According to the evidence acquired by PRNigeria, the element is really created artificially in a laboratory under precise guidelines rather than being in nature. In Borno state, there is also no proof that there are significant deposits of Californian uranium anywhere.

PRNigeria draws the conclusion that Hamza Al-Mustapha's assertion that Californian elements are abundant in Borno State is false and deceptive.


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