Can U-238 undergo regular, single beta decay?

Are there isotopes which can only undergo double, never single, beta decay? Not even two normal beta decays in quick succession?


The U238 (and some other isotopes) can't decay with single beta, but only with double beta, because of energetic reasons. The decay product of single beta would have higher energy than the energy of the original nucleus, but with double beta they can decay into a lower energy state. (Look at the isotope masses of U238, Np238 and Pu238, higher mass means higher energy.)

  • $\begingroup$ Note that while double-beta decay from U to Pu is energetically allowed, it has never been observed. $\endgroup$ – rob Feb 16 at 22:45
  • $\begingroup$ At least not directly, the wiki says in the "method" field that it was observed radiochemically. $\endgroup$ – fanyul Feb 16 at 22:58

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