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 what the half life is.

  • $\begingroup$ Are you asking about the very last residual, the one that is stored in a nuclear cementery? $\endgroup$
    – Davidmh
    Commented May 15, 2014 at 8:28

1 Answer 1


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There are a very large number of products of nuclear fission, each product having its own half-life, or being stable.

The distribution of products depends upon what element is undergoing fission.

Some of the most important long life radioactive isotopes in fission nuclear waste are:

Technetium-99 (half life 211,000 years)

Tin-126 (230,000 years)

Zirconium-93 (1.53 million years)

Cesium-135 (2.3 million years)

Iodine-129 (15.7 million years)

In addition to the actual products of fission, nuclear waste also contains radioactive isotopes due to neutron capture by the fuel that have not undergone fission, such as plutonium and americum isotopes.


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