Yellow-colored glass,containing more than 1% uranium oxide and dating back to 79 A.D., has been found near Naples, Italy. Klaproth recognized an unknown element in pitchblende and attempted to isolate the metal in 1789. The metal apparently was first isolated in 1841 by Peligot, who reduced the anhydrous chloride with potassium.
It is found in Phosphate rock, lignite, monazite sands, and can be recovered commercially from these sources.
Uranium is heavy, silvery-white metal which is pyrophoric when finely divided.
Uranium is of great interest because of its application to nuclear power and nuclear weapons. Uranium contamination is an emotive environmental problem. It is not particularly rare and is more common than beryllium or tungsten for instance.