5
votes
2answers
86 views

Why is the spectrum of the $\beta$-decay continuous?

the spectrum of the Gamma and Alpha decays are both discrete, i.e. the $\alpha$-particles and the $\gamma$-rays take on only discrete values when emitted from a decaying nucleus. Why is it then, that ...
1
vote
2answers
53 views

Radioactive decay law and the exponential model, is it always valid?

The law of radioactive decay reads $$ N(t)=N_0e^{-\lambda t}$$ Is it valid when there is less than 1 nucleus or particle to decay? Obviously, it is nonsense to consider that we have 1/2 of nucleus ...
-1
votes
1answer
43 views

Is the half-life of Primordial Nuclide determine only by the age of the earth? [closed]

Is the half-life of Primordial Nuclide determined only by the age of the earth? Or are their other age defining considerations? The point of the question is to know that the only reason that we have a ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do all elements above $\require{mhchem}\ce{Fe}$ not decay to $\ce{Fe}$?

OK, so $\ce{Fe}$ is the most 'stable element'. As such, why do all elements above it not decay into $\ce{Fe}$? In all cases, would it not lead to an increase in binding energy and therefore energy ...
1
vote
1answer
24 views

When and why spontaneous nuclear fission is preferred to alpha emission?

I reasoned as follow: the probability of an $\alpha$ emission $^A_ZX\to^{A-4}_{Z-2}X^{'}+\alpha$ is given by: $T=e^{-G}$ where the Gamow factor is given by: $G\simeq \pi \sqrt{\frac{2\mu ...
0
votes
2answers
179 views

Radioactive stability of some nuclei

While studying radioactivity I found that even the most radioactive substances i.e substances with the shortest half lives do not completely degenerate. Suppose there is a 1 mole sample of an ...
2
votes
1answer
32 views

Radioactive half lifes

What is the typical half life of material released from nuclear fission? This is a question I received for yr 12 physics and I can't find a proper answer telling me what the material released is and ...
2
votes
3answers
405 views

Would being underwater help survive a nuclear bomb?

If I jump in my pool, on the river near my house knowing that a nuclear bomb, or atomic or H-Bomb exploded around 10 km from my house, would I survive? The way I see it is that water will protect me ...
4
votes
1answer
80 views

Energy balance for beta decay of cobalt-60

I am confused by a simple fact about the $\beta^{-}$ decay of ${}^{60}{\rm Co}$ nucleus. According to Wikipedia, the most likely decay branch is to an excited state of ${}^{60}{\rm Ni}$, see the ...
3
votes
2answers
121 views

How clean will first generation fusion reactors be compared to fission reactors?

Googling the topic seems to indicate that fusion reactors will produce less waste and less toxic radioactivity, but this fact never seems to be mentioned during the current debate over nuclear power. ...
0
votes
0answers
50 views

Use of fission products for electricity generation

Why can't we use fissions products for electricity production ? As far has I know fissions products from current nuclear power plants create enough 'waste' heat to boil water; and temperature ...
1
vote
1answer
46 views

Why does Se-82 undergo double beta decay?

Looking at the decay chain, I saw it undergoes double beta decay. How is it feasible for something to undergo a simultaneous double decay?
0
votes
1answer
49 views

What is the theoretical wattage output of a Tokamak fusion reactor?

By that I mean the complete radiative wattage of any type of energetic radioactivity or electromagnetic wave or even particle if that's what they output. My purpose is to compare this to the suns ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

How can a proton be converted to a neutron via positron emission and yet gain mass?

The mass of a neutron is greater than mass of a proton so how is it possible in positron emission for a proton to form a neutron and a positron?
2
votes
1answer
213 views

Radioactive decay / binding energies

If my understanding is correct, the binding energy determines a nucleus' stability and the greater the binding energy, the more stable the nucleus (e.g iron-56). The mass of the sum of nucleons that ...
5
votes
1answer
135 views

Number of decays in a chain reaction

It is widely known that the probability of $n$ decays from one system to another $A \rightarrow B$ (e.g., electrons decaying from one atomic energy level to another or muons decaying into neutrinos ...
0
votes
1answer
874 views

Nuclear reactions conservation laws

I'd want to know the basic rules to apply the conservation laws in nuclear reactions (nuclear fusion, nuclear fission, radioactive decays, etc.) to determine parity and angular momentum of the ...
2
votes
2answers
106 views

Harmlessness of a pure alpha decay particle

From my high school physics class I remember that there are some particles which exhibit pure alpha decay (i.e. alpha decay to there stable isotope), like Po-210, Po-211 and Bi-209. What I also know ...
-1
votes
1answer
66 views

Calculate energy from an reaction [closed]

I'm trying to calculate the released energy from a reaction. The radioactive substance polonium decays according to this formula: $$^{210}_{84}\mbox{Po} \rightarrow \mbox{X}+^4_{2}\mbox{He} $$ At ...
6
votes
2answers
238 views

Radioactive Decay

Problem:Nuclei of a radioactive element $\Bbb X$ having decay constant $\lambda$ , ( decays into another stable nuclei $\Bbb Y$ ) is being produced by some external process at a constant rate ...
4
votes
2answers
177 views

$\require{mhchem}$ $\ce{\beta^{+}}$ decay for $\ce{_9^18F}$, computing $\Delta m$

For the decay: $$\require{mhchem}\ce{_9^18F\to_8^18O +e+ +{v}}$$ To compute $E$, I need $\Delta m$, the provided answer looks like: $$m_i = 18.000938~u$$ $$m_f = 17.999159~u + 2~(5.49 \times ...
12
votes
4answers
368 views

Why are alpha particles such a prominent form of radiation and not other types of nucleon arrangement?

It is said in many textbooks that alpha decay involves emitting alpha particles, which are very stable. Indeed, the binding energy (~28.3 MeV) is higher than for $Z$-neighboring stable isotopes. But ...
4
votes
2answers
245 views

nuclear fission and half life

Why is the alpha, beta or gamma decay of an unstable nucleus unaffected by the chemical situation of an atom, such as the nature of the molecule or solid in which it is bound? The chemical situation ...
0
votes
0answers
70 views

Photons emitted by radioactive source

Can we calculate the number of photons emitted per second by a radioactive source (gamma) ? we can take 100g of barium-133 as an example
1
vote
1answer
1k views

How do you calculate the equivalent absorbed radiation dose from activity, type of emission, and the energy of the emission?

I have a sample of U-238 of which my Geiger counter detects beta activity at 700 events per second. Based on the counter's efficiency of 98.6% for U-238, the activity would be about 710 becquerels, I ...
1
vote
2answers
165 views

Was the early Earth radioactive?

I've been reading of the (surprising) fact we are uncertain on whether there is nuclear fission in the center of the Earth or not (yet we know so much detail on structures at the other end of the ...
5
votes
3answers
775 views

Do some half-lives change over time?

I was recently doing some physics tuition on radioactivity and the student claimed her chemistry teacher had said that radioactive substances can be grouped into two divisions: those whose half-life ...
18
votes
2answers
4k views

Why is technetium unstable?

Is there a simple account of why technetium is unstable? From the Isotopes section of Wikipedia's article on Technetium: Technetium, with atomic number (denoted Z) 43, is the lowest-numbered ...
4
votes
1answer
555 views

Why are synthetic elements unstable?

So far 20 synthetic elements have been synthesized. All are unstable, decaying with half-lives between years and milliseconds. Why is that?
1
vote
2answers
227 views

Alpha Decay or Fission

In a quiz contest, I came across the following question: What is the term used to describe the splitting of a heavy nucleus into two lighter nuclei? Two options provided were: a) Alpha Decay b) ...
0
votes
3answers
164 views

How can radioactivity change depending on the number of nuclei? [closed]

I came across this problem. Please help me solve it. A radioactive sample S1 having an activity of $5\ \mathrm{\mu Ci}$ has twice the number of nuclei as another sample S2 which has an activity ...
1
vote
2answers
194 views

Relativistic Mass including exponential decay

So from what I gather, relativistic mass = $m_0\gamma$ where $\gamma$ is the lorentz factor. So if i have a mass that is .5 at rest then it is safe to say that the relativistic mass will be 1 if it ...
2
votes
1answer
57 views

XP Decay mode of radioactive nucleus

The decay mode of Carbon-8 is listed as 'XP' in this table. None of the references I looked at listed XP as a decay mode. What is it>
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Decay of Cobalt-60 isotope

How does the Gamma decay of Cobalt-60 occur? Motivation: A research team led by D. Habs made contributions to our understanding of the gamma decay of Ca-40 and Zr-90: ...
4
votes
3answers
167 views

How do we know that internal conversion creates no intermediate photon?

I've read, from several sources, that in internal conversion -- an excited electron transferring its energy to another electron which is then emitted -- no intermediate gamma radiation is produced. ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

Why are alpha particles made of 2 protons and neutrons?

When experiencing alpha decay, atoms shed alpha particles made of 2 protons and 2 neutrons. Why can't we have other types of particles made of more or less protons?
3
votes
1answer
207 views

How was Be-8's Half-Life of 7E-17 Second Determined?

Radionuclides occur with half-lives in a vast range of over 37 magnitudes as listed in this site. In question 7584, Lubos Motl explained how Gyr half-lives were determined. This method doesn't appear ...
0
votes
0answers
50 views

Problem on nuclear physics radioactivity [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How do we know that C14 decay is exponential and not linear? Please help me solving this problem. Find the half life period of uranium-238,if one gram of it emits ...
2
votes
1answer
223 views

Can stable nuclei theoretically fission through quantum tunneling?

As I understand it, an unstable nucleus is going to randomly fission because the forces binding it together are momentarily weaker than the electrostatic repulsion of the protons. Given that some ...
8
votes
1answer
360 views

Island of Stability

When I was much younger, I remember being fascinated by the thought of an Island of Stability at very high atomic numbers. However, I have not heard much on this and I was wondering Did this idea ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is beta negative decay more common than beta positive?

In simple terms, why is beta negative decay more common than beta positive? I know it's something to do with occuring inside/outside the nucleus - but I can't find a simple, easy to understand ...
2
votes
1answer
91 views

Creation of Nuclear Isomers

As I understand it, if a nucleus is excited with energy exceeding its ground state, it releases energy via gamma radiation. An example would be technitium 99m, a medical tracer with a 6 hour half life ...
7
votes
6answers
1k views

How do we know that C14 decay is exponential and not linear?

In my previous question I asked Please explain C14 half-life The OP mentioned that I was thinking of linear decay and C14 was measured in exponential decay. As I understand it, C14 is always in a ...
1
vote
0answers
458 views

Please explain C14 half-life [duplicate]

I understand that C14 decays at a given rate. I also interpret this to mean that 100% of the atoms of C14 in an object will all decay at the same right, individually. So if I have 4 C14 atoms, will ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Effect of temperature on radioactivity?

I'm researching the effect of temperature on uranium radioactivity, however I can't find any solid empirical evidence to prove the notion that temperature does not affect radioactivity. Can anyone ...
0
votes
0answers
188 views

Does the Standard model allow for radioactive decay prediction? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Predicting Decay Rates via the Standard Model More specifically, does (any) current theory allow for approximate or exact predictions of atomic decay rates and types ...
3
votes
1answer
234 views

The vacuum as trigger

Do the apperance in the atomic nucleus of virtual matter-antimatter particle pairs play a role in the random nature of radioactive decay?
6
votes
1answer
178 views

Radioactive nuclear fuel?

I suppose this is a not-too-bright question but, in a nutshell: why are nuclear fuels radioactive? With this I mean, which is the connection between being a fissile (or fertile, for that matter) ...
2
votes
2answers
528 views

Iodine isotope question

Quick question for the nuclear engineers/physicists out there Where does I-134 come from? I cant find it in any of the charts of standard decay products of Uranium fission, but there is tons of the ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

How do we know that some radioactive materials have a half life of millions or even billions of years?

If a radioactive material takes a very long time to decay, how is its half life measured or calculated? Do we have to actually observe the radioactive material for a very long time to extrapolate its ...