Nuclear physics is the study of the composition, behavior and interaction of atomic nuclei and their constituent parts.

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If there is a meltdown at the Fukushima reactors, would the control rods melt also?

According to the reports, the shutdown procedures at all the Fukushima reactors were successful, and all the control rods were fully inserted. So - if there was a meltdown, would the control rods ...
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Ratio of radiation sources in the uranium cycle

Sorry, I know y'all are probably getting a lot of questions re: Fukushima, but I had a very specific one and no-one has been able to answer it. I am specialised in medical radiation, and have been ...
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How much radiation exposure in the US was caused by the 105 nuke tests in the Pacific?

Between 1947 and 1962 the US conducted 105 tests of nuclear weapons in the "Pacific Proving Grounds". I'm wondering how much radiation exposure resulted on the west coast of the US. These were part of ...
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Are there notable cases of anomalies in the mass-decay rate relationship?

As a general rule of thumb, massive particles (both composite and fundamental) tend to decay rapidly through the weak force, while less massive particles tend to be more stable. Hence, taus are ...
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Long time deviations from exponential decay in radioactivity

Are there any examples of common substances whose decay is not exponential? We're used to thinking about radioactivity in terms of half-lives. This is a concept that makes sense only for a decay that ...
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Can the earth's magnetic field be generated by heat from a natural nuclear reactor?

I've come upon Dr. J. Marvin Herndon's theory that the earth's magnetic field is generated by a hot nuclear reactor operating in the center of the earth. This is backed by various papers, some of them ...
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Can a nuclear reactor meltdown be contained with molten lead?

If lead can absorb or block radiation, would it be possible to pump molten lead into a reactor core which is melting, so that it would eventually cool and contain the radiation? Is there something ...
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280 views

Why does Fukushima pressure rise? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why didn't the control rods in Fukushima shut down the reactor? They say that pressure rises and that this can be dangerous. But why does this happen if the reactor ...
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1answer
655 views

What is the influence of the nuclear leakage in Japan

The recent news says that Japanese authorities confirmed Saturday that radiation had leaked from a quake-hit nuclear plant after an explosion destroyed a building at the site. What will be the ...
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465 views

How much energy can be extracted from hydrogen?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B-L says that the difference between baryon number and lepton number is conserved. Ordinary hydrogen has one of each, but turning it into helium releases only the binding ...
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Where does the energy from a nuclear bomb come from?

I'll break this down to two related questions: With a fission bomb, Uranium or Plutonium atoms are split by a high energy neutron, thus releasing energy (and more neutrons). Where does the energy ...
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How do alpha and beta particles ionise surrounding particles?

I've been wondering about this question for a while. If you have alpha and beta particles released from a radioactive core, how do they ionise surrounding particles?
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Why must the deuteron wavefunction be antisymmetric?

Wikipedia article on deuterium says this: The deuteron wavefunction must be antisymmetric if the isospin representation is used (since a proton and a neutron are not identical particles, ...
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Why doesn't orbital electron fall into the nucleus of Rb85, but falls into the nucleus of Rb83?

Rb83 is unstable and decays to Kr-83. Mode of the decay is electron capture. Rb85 is stable. The nuclei Rb83 and Rb85 have the same charge. Rb85 is heavier than Rb85, but gravitation is too weak to ...
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Age of the Earth and the star that preceded the Sun

One of the great unheralded advances made in the history of science was the ability to determine the age of Earth based on the decay of isotopic uranium. Based on the apparent abundance of uranium in ...
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How many times has the “stuff” in our solar system been recycled from previous stars?

Is there a cosmologist in the house? I've got a basic understanding (with some degree of error) of some simple facts: The Universe is a little over 13 billion years old. Our galaxy is almost that ...
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372 views

Cherenkov radiation in nuclear bomb

Would Cherenkov radiation occur at the explosion of a nuclear bomb? Suppose it would not be occluded by smoke or anything else for that matter.
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Is there any thing other than time that “triggers” a radioactive atom to decay?

Say you have a vial of tritium and monitor their atomic decay with a geiger counter. How does an atom "know" when it's time to decay? It seems odd that all the tritium atoms are identical except with ...
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333 views

Weak contribution to nuclear binding

Does the weak nuclear force play a role (positive or negative) in nuclear binding? Normally you only see discussions about weak decay and flavour changing physics, but is there a contribution to ...
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What does a nucleus look like?

It's a Christmas time and so I hope I'll be pardoned for asking a question which probably doesn't make much sense :-) In standard undergraduate nuclear physics course one learns about models such as ...
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Isotope properties plotting tool?

I'm looking for something that will generate scatter plots comparing different properties of isotopes. Ideally I'd like some web page that lets me select axis and click go but a CSV file with lost of ...
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1answer
2k views

Turned to steel in the great magnetic field

This is obviously a "fun" question, but I'm sure it still has valid physics in it, so bear with me. How great of a magnetic field would you need to transmute other elements into iron/nickel, if ...
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Is it possible to obtain gold through nuclear decay?

Is there a series of transmutations through nuclear decay that will result in the stable gold isotope ${}^{197}\mathrm{Au}$ ? How long will the process take?
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Why some nuclei with “magic” numbers of neutrons have a half-life less than their neighbor isotopes?

It's easy to find the "magic" numbers of neutrons on the diagrams of alpha-decay energy: 82, 126, 152, 162. Such "magic" nuclei should be more stable than their neighbors. But why some nuclei ...
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Why is the nucleus of an Iron atom so stable?

Lighter nuclei liberate energy when undergoing fusion, heavier nuclei when undergoing fission. What is it about the nucleus of an Iron atom that makes it so stable? Alternatively: Iron has the ...
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Can Jupiter be ignited?

Our solar system itself contains two candidate "Earths" One is Jupiter's moon Europa and another is Saturn's moon Titan. Both of them have the problem of having at low temperature as Sun's heat ...
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How does Positronium exist?

I've just recently heard of Positronium, an "element" with interesting properties formed by an electron and positron, and I was shocked to hear that physicists were actually working with this element, ...
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How is it possible to calculate the energy liberated by a given fission process?

How is it possible to calculate the energy liberated by a given fission process? For example, in the fission of a $^{235}$U induced by capturing a neutron?
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Obtaining isotope stability

For a given isotope, one can obtain the binding energy using the semi-empirical mass formula. For example, has a binding energy of 1782.8 MeV. From this information, how can the likelihood of the ...