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

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Why is storage of spent nuclear fuel dangerous?

Just what the title states; there's a good deal of noise made about transport, and storage of spent nuclear fuel. Why all the hullabaloo when the fuel is all spent?
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1answer
323 views

Does neutron radiation form clouds?

I've heard a couple of scary stories from experienced accellerator physiscists about something called neutron clouds. Apparently, if you have an experiment like a fixed-target experiment that produces ...
7
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1answer
201 views

How would nucleosynthesis be different if the neutron were stable?

If the strong nuclear force were just 2% stronger, the neutron would be a stable particle instead of having a half life of about 13 minutes. What difference would that have made to Big Bang ...
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1answer
351 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 ...
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1answer
373 views

Why the pion does not get mass under Spontaneus breaking of chiral symmetry, but the quarks do?

Some sources state that when the mass of a quark goes to zero, it allows for Spontaneous Breaking of Chiral Symmetry and gets a constituent mass of about $200\, \mathrm{MeV}$. Other sources state ...
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1answer
567 views

Question about a nuclear bomb test photo

What are those white lines connecting the ground to the sky on the left side of this photo? I've see these before in the nuclear bomb test films too. They're apparently already in place upon ...
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2answers
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 ...
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1answer
89 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 ...
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0answers
84 views

Is it possible to create a nuclear reactor the size of a melon? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the minimum amount of fissile mass required to acheive criticality? I want to make a red laser the only problem is that the power is not sufficient so I had to ...
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2answers
154 views

Synthesizing elements (Nuclear Physics/Alchemy?)

Based on my limited knowledge of nuclear physics, it seems that one day it may/will be possible to synthesize whatever elements we may need, given enough energy. Is this accurate? Is there a table ...
4
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1answer
345 views

If we assume that protons don't decay, then will all matter ultimately decay into Iron-56 or into nickel-62?

Wikipedia says that all matter should decay into iron-56. But it also says Nickel-62 is the most stable nucleus. So could this mean that in the far future, everything could (through quantum ...
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4answers
2k views

Why are nuclear reactors dome/bell shaped?

Just what the title states. What is the reason that a Nuclear reactor has a characteristic dome/bell shape?
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2answers
1k views

Strong force, where is the seperation?

In class I got given a diagram like this: (albeit without the Electrostatic force line) However the teacher told us the nucleons are typically separated when the force is zero. So as the string ...
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1answer
599 views

What are nuclear isomers? What is isomeric energy?

Can someone explain nuclear isomers to me, and in particular what the energy involved is? I understand generally that we're talking about moving from a less to more stable configuration of nuclear ...
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6answers
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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 ...
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0answers
457 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 ...
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1answer
163 views

Leaching of radiometric material, is it possible?

I've been doing some reading about radiometric dating and I've come across an interesting find. If anybody has any additional information on this, that would be great. First my question: In regards ...
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2answers
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How reliable is Radiometric dating? Are there limitations? [closed]

Young earth creationists dismiss radiometric dating as unreliable, whats the truth?
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1answer
255 views

How does the internuclear repulsion vary in Hydrogenic atom collision?

Hydrogen fusion requires two hydrogen nuclei to get close enough (typically a few fm) to fuse. Much of the problem of creating a fusion reactor is overcoming the Coulomb repulsion between a pair of ...
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1answer
401 views

What are the average matter, antimatter, and binding energy composition of protons and neutrons?

For a free baryon at rest at room temperature, how much of its ~1Gev (rest) mass can (on average) be considered as matter, as antimatter, and as binding energy? For a baryon in a nucleus, I assume ...
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4answers
430 views

How do we know that the nucleus isn't a quark-gluon plasma?

The standard picture of the nucleus of atom is that is several distinct nucleons, which themselves are composed of quarks. However, it seems to me like a much simpler picture is that the nucleus is ...
3
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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 ...
13
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1answer
504 views

How come random matrices can predict energy spectra of heavy atoms?

Some of the applications of random matrices is to find the spectra of heavy atoms in nuclear physics which are usually difficult to find otherwise. How can starting from randomness of some kind, ...
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1answer
1k views

What is so special about iron?

I remember reading something about how iron was a highly stable element. Ever since then, I have looked at iron fry pans with new-found respect. However, in a recent discussion I was unable to ...
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2answers
229 views

Is it viable to convert nuclear waste into safe isotopes?

I read that powerful pulsed lasers can change isotopes: J. Magill, et. al.: "Laser transmutation of iodine-129". Did anyone estimate what would be the energy costs to transmutate 1 kg of fission ...
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2answers
355 views

What elements can be created in the fusion process of different types of stars?

As I understand it fusion inside a sun can produce heavier and heavier elements until some sort of "nucleus size limit" is reached. As far as I understand, the limit is thought to be reached with the ...
12
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2answers
307 views

Hydrogen as a fuel in Sun

The source of Sun's incessant energy is hydrogen; which is continuously converting to helium through nuclear fusion reaction releasing energy. Why does not all hydrogen convert into helium in one big ...
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3answers
450 views

The “binding energy” of bonded particles adds mass?

This is a follow-up my previous question. Several of the answers indicated that the mass of a particle (atom, proton, etc.) increase with the "binding energy" of it's component particles - the energy ...
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5answers
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Conversion of mass to energy in chemical/nuclear reactions

Is mass converted into energy in exothermic chemical / nuclear reactions? My (A Level) knowledge of chemistry suggests that this isn't the case. In a simple burning reaction, e.g. $C+O_2\to ...
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6answers
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Why is there a scarcity of lithium?

One of the major impediments to the widespread adoption of electric cars is a shortage of lithium for the batteries. I read an article a while back that says that there is simply not enough lithium ...
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2answers
1k views

Tunneling of alpha particles

Consider this explanation of the alpha decay: It says The Coulomb barrier faced by an alpha particle with this energy is about 26 MeV, so by classical physics it cannot escape at all. ...
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0answers
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Energy Levels of 3D Isotropic Harmonic Oscillator (Nuclear Shell Model)

One simple way of detailing the very basic structure of the nuclear shell model involves placing the nucleons in a 3D isotropic oscillator. It's easy to show that the energy eigenvalues are $E = ...
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3answers
424 views

Nuclear physics problem, Why do we use high weight atomic elements?

So as far as I know, nuclear fission uses high weight atomic elements to manufacture power. If the risk of runaway reactions are a major reason for not expanding this technology, why don't we use ...
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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 ...
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2answers
367 views

Nuclear physics Radioactivity

90Sr has a half life of 28.5y. It is chemically similar to Ca and enters the body through the food chain and collects in bones. It is a serious health hazard. How long in (years) will it take for ...
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3answers
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Protons' repulsion within a nucleus

Do the protons inside the nucleus repel each other by the electrostatic force? If they do, why doesn't the repulsion drive the protons apart so that the nuclei get disintegrated?
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1answer
232 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?
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3answers
9k views

Why do electrons occupy the space around nuclei, and not collide with them?

We all learn in grade school that electrons are negatively-charged particles that inhabit the space around the nucleus of an atom, that protons are positively-charged and are embedded within the ...
3
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1answer
175 views

$\frac{1}{\sqrt{2}}$|Independent particle Model $\rangle$ + |Strong Interaction Model$\rangle$?

What is an adequate way to understand this simultaneously. One has the underlying assumption that matter is saturated and has the merit of being able to come up with an accurate formula for the ...
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1answer
515 views

Matter-antimatter annihilation

What happens if different size atoms meet? We've just created anti-helium, I think. What if one atom of anti-helium collided with one atom of iron. Would some of the iron be left over as a new ...
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2answers
367 views

Electrical neutrality of atoms

How is it that atoms with equal numbers of protons and electrons are described as "electrically neutral" when the proton is 1,800 times more massive than the electron?
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2answers
2k views

Having the same number of neutrons

Sorry if this is a silly question. If I understand correctly, for two atoms "having the same number of protons" is equivalent to "being of the same element", while "having the same number of protons ...
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3answers
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How often does nuclear fusion occur within the human body?

I'm just curious. I figure atoms fuse occasionally just by chance, like quantum tunneling or rogue waves. Is this true? If so, any idea how often?
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2answers
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Strongest force in nature

Possible Duplicate: What does it mean to say “Gravity is the weakest of the forces”? It is said nuclear force is the strongest force in nature.. But it is not true near a black ...
6
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1answer
173 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) ...
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1answer
226 views

Combining chemical elements

Prof Brian Cox mentioned on Wonders of the Universe when discussing chemical elements that Carbon 12 consists of 6 protons and 6 neutrons, he also mentioned that Helium consists of 2 protons and 2 ...
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2answers
790 views

What is the required thickness of concrete needed to entomb a leaking reactors emissions?

What is the minimum thickness of an aggregate concrete membrane to prevent radioactive particles from escaping a broken reactor? I am interested in calculating the amount of concrete required to ...
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2answers
511 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 ...
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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 ...
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2answers
123 views

Detailed logical steps to show experimentally that radioactivity ionizes air?

Suppose one knows almost nothing about the nature of radioactivity (like the discoverers of this phenomenon). What are the detailed/rigorous logical steps/arguments to show experimentally that ...