If you take a close look at the table of the isotopes, with the
stable isotopes highlited, you'll notice it seems to follow a
curve. By tracing this up, we might (theoretically) be able to
identify stable elements at the end of the actinide series. It's
already been shown that, unforunately,
some of the most
interesting behaviors occurr in radioelements (elements
where all known isotopes are radioactive) For example, some
late-series transuranics have been found to convert heat
directly into electricity, much more efficiently then our
convoluted methods of semiconductor heating and steam
turbines. Promethium does a similar thing with ultraviolet light.
What's needed, then, is a method of controlling radiation
exposure much more minutely, so that we can induce the
formation of these stable isotopes. This can be tested on
light-weight forms of elements known to have stable isotopes.
How about a fairly short particle accelerator (such as a
cyclotron) with BLOODY HUGE magnets. What must be done is
to move a particle at just the right speed, and it has to hit
the isotopes before they decay (obviously, this can only be
done with elements that have halflives of at least a few years,
unless they're fresh out of a reaction, where they still better
live at least a few minutes.)
The radioactives with useful non-nuclear properties include:
Ununoctium (DISPUTED) - which could theoretically produce
florescent lights brighter than anything we've ever seen. Much
less gas and electricity spent producing light
Promethium, Berkelium, and Seaborgium, as listed above.
Plutonium - Stable plutonium would make excellent shielding
for military and other equipment that needs to absorb a rough
shock, since it tends to very high densities.
Radon - Known to do what ununoctium may do if its existence
is confirmed, although not quite as well.
Of course, this is all moot if some of these properties are the
result of the element's radioactivity, and then there's cost.
Even if it is not cost efficient to produce these for their
helpful properties, this thing would still be useful for getting
rid of nuclear waste, though.