# Ionizing a beta decay nucleus causes faster decay?

I recently read about a beta decay nucleus (rhenium 187) which physicists got to decay faster by stripping the nucleus of all its electrons.

Original half life: 42 X 10^9 years

"Changed" half life: 33 years!

Why does this happen, and is this only a characteristic of rhenium 187, or to all beta decaying nuclei?

• @Ben Crowell -- I disagree. It’s not implausible. Since the decay process is $n\to pe\bar{\nu }$, electrons in S-orbitals could block final states via the exclusion principle and should slow down the decay. Removing them would clear the way. – Bert Barrois Jun 19 '18 at 11:17
• @BertBarrois: Aha, that makes sense, because of the unusually low beta decay energy. – user4552 Jun 19 '18 at 14:25
• How do you strip a nucleus of ALL of its electrons? – Jiminion Oct 16 '18 at 13:37