Atomic Nuclear Decay

425 words | 2 page(s)

The how and why of atomic nuclear decay; first the how, is due to the instability of the uranium isotope when exposed to the elements that combine to form natural air. The emission of subatomic particles from the atomic nucleus furthers the instability of the uranium nucleus relative to the half-life decay period. The reason for atomic nuclear decay is because the uranium-235 atom is unstable when exposed to atmospheric conditions. The decay is relative to the interaction of the uranium-235 atom and the instability of the valence electron of the outer shell. The atomic decay is classified by the decay of alpha, beta, and gamma subatomic particles comprising the unstable atomic nucleus.

The significance of atomic nuclear decay is that the decay is a waste material that is classified as hazardous to organic based life. The instability of the nuclear waste is also an issue as the radioactivity of the waste will remain highly radioactive and unstable for hundreds of thousands of years. The decay is the subsequent leftover material of the uranium element that is no longer of viable use and therefore is left to decay relative to its half-life.

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My analysis on the societal implications of using the process of atomic nuclear decay is that of a horrendous exposure to toxic chemicals via the toxic material of radioactive decay. The widespread discarding of radioactive waste has societal implications to wildlife of all forms and to the future health of humans as a function of the food and water supply. If the toxic materials leech into the ground and contaminate ground water and planting soil the societal implication is that of a ruined food and water supply and exposure to high levels of radioactivity.

The various uses of radioactivity in healthcare primarily center in the use of x-ray technology and in diagnostic machinery including CT scan and MRI and in the sterilization of medical equipment and surgical tools. Radioactivity is also used in chemotherapy treatment of cancer victims via exposure to high doses of radioactivity to the region of the affected malignant tumor. The future trends in healthcare with respect to the use of radioactivity include likely less use of radioactivity in oncology departments for cancer treatment and more use of radioactivity in the use of sterilization and in new diagnostic and imaging medical equipment.

  • web.utk.edu (2012). Nuclear Decay. retrieved June 8, 2013, from web.utk.edu Web Site: http://web.utk.edu/
  • Zaidi, H (2006). Recent developments and future trends in nuclear medicine. retrieved June 8, 2013, from UBERSICHTSARBEIT Web Site: http://pinlab.hcuge.ch/

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