!"#$%&' ) * +#,.
#/%0& 1&/#2 34&%/5
The numbei of nuclei in a iauioactive sample that uisintegiate uuiing a given time
inteival uecieases exponentially with time. Because the nucleus is insulateu by the
suiiounuing clouu of elections, this iate is essentially inuepenuent of piessuie,
tempeiatuie, the mass action law, oi any othei iatelimiting factois that commonly effect
chemical anu physical changes.
1
As a iesult, this uecay iate seives as a veiy useful means
of iuentifying a given nucliue. Since iauioactive uecay iepiesents the tiansfoimation of an
unstable iauioactive nucliue into a moie stable nucliue, which may also be iauioactive, it is
an iiieveisible event foi each nucliue.
The unstable nuclei in a iauioactive sample uo not all uecay simultaneously. Insteau
the uecay of a given nucleus is an entiiely ianuom event. Consequently, stuuies of
iauioactive uecay events iequiie the use of statistical methous. With these methous, one
may obseive a laige numbei of iauioactive nuclei anu pieuict with faii assuiance that, aftei
a given length of time, a uefinite fiaction of them will have uisintegiateu but not which ones
oi when.
)67 8#5/ 1&/#2 9:;#%.45
1
In the case of electron capture and internal conversion, the chemical environment
of the electrons involved may affect the decay rate. For Lelectron capture in
7
Be (t
!
=
53.3d), the ratio of is 1.00084. Similarly, a fully stripped radioactive ion cannot
undergo either EC or IC decay, a feature of interest in astrophysics.
2
In order to make this statement completely correct, we should say that as we
double the number of nuclei present, we double the rate of particle emission. This rate is
equal to the number of particles emitted per unit time, provided that the time interval is
small.
Rauioactive uecay is what chemists iefei to as a fiistoiuei ieaction; that is, the iate
of iauioactive uecay is piopoitional to the numbei of each type of iauioactive nuclei
piesent in a given sample. So if we uouble the numbei of a given type of iauioactive nuclei
in a sample, we uouble the numbei of paiticles emitteu by the sample pei unit time.
2
This
ielation may be expiesseu as follows:
Note that the foiegoing statement is only a piopoition. By intiouucing the uecay constant,
it is possible to conveit this expiession into an equation, as follows:
(S1)
The uecay constant, i, iepiesents the aveiage piobability pei nucleus of uecay occuiiing
pei unit time. Theiefoie we aie taking the piobability of uecay pei nucleus, i, anu
multiplying it by the numbei of nuclei piesent so as to get the iate of paiticle emission. The
units of iate aie (uisintegiation of nucleitime) making the units of the uecay constant
(1time), !"#", piobabilitytime of uecay.
To conveit the pieceuing woiu equations to mathematical statements using
symbols, let $ iepiesent the numbei of iauioactive nuclei piesent at time %. Then, using
uiffeiential calculus, the pieceuing woiu equations may be wiitten as
3
(S2)
Note that $ is constantly ieuucing in magnituue as a function of time. Reaiiangement of
Equation (S2) to sepaiate the vaiiables gives
(SS)
If we say that at time % = u we have $& iauioactive nuclei piesent, then integiation of
Equation (SS) gives the iauioactive uecay law
(S4)
This equation gives us the numbei of iauioactive nuclei piesent at time %. Bowevei, in
many expeiiments, we want to know the counting iate that we will get in a uetectoi as a
function of time. In othei woius, we want to know the '(%!)!%* of oui samples.
Still, it is easy to show that the counting iate in one's iauiation uetectoi, C, is equal
to the iate of uisintegiation of the iauioactive nuclei piesent in a sample, A, multiplieu by a
constant ielateu to the efficiency of the iauiation measuiing system. Thus
(SS)
wheie ! is the efficiency. Substituting into Equation (S4), we get
!
C = C
0
e
"#t
(S6)
wheie + is the counting iate at some time % uue to a iauioactive sample that gave counting
iate +u at time % = u. Equations (S4) anu (S6) aie the basic equations goveining the
numbei of nuclei piesent in a iauioactive sample anu the numbei of counts obseiveu in
one's uetectoi as a function of time. Equation (S6) is shown giaphically as Figuie S1. As
4
seen in Figuie S1, this exponential cuive flattens out anu asymptotically appioaches zeio.
If the same plot is maue on a semi logaiithmic scale (Figuie S2), the uecay cuive is a
stiaight line, with a slope equal to the value of (i2.SuS).
The ,'./!.# 1%2) is anothei iepiesentation of the uecay constant. The halflife of a
iauionucliue is the time iequiieu foi its activity to ueciease by onehalf. Thus aftei one
halflife, Su% of the initial activity iemains. Aftei two halflives, only 2S% of the initial
activity iemains. Aftei thiee halflives, only 12.S% is yet piesent anu so foith. Figuie SS
shows this ielation giaphically.
The halflife foi a given nucliue can be ueiiveu fiom Equation (S6)
when the value of the uecay constant is known. In accoiuance with the uefinition of the
teim halflife, when 343& 5 26 then % 5 %2. Substituting these values into Equation (S6)
gives
(S7)
Bence
(S8)
Note that the value of the expiession foi %V has the units of 1i oi uimensions of (time).
The halflives foi uiffeient nucliues iange fiom less than 1u
6
sec to 1u
1u
yi. The
halflife has been measuieu foi all the commonly useu iauionucliues. When an unknown
iauioactive nucliue is encounteieu, a ueteimination of its halflife is noimally one of the
fiist steps in its iuentification. This ueteimination can be uone by piepaiing a semi log plot
of a seiies of activity obseivations maue ovei a peiiou of time. A shoitliveu nucliue may
5
be obseiveu as it uecays thiough a complete halflife anu the time inteival obseiveu
uiiectly (Figuie S4).


9<#=$>&
uiven the uata plotteu below foi the uecay of a single iauionucliue, ueteimine the
uecay constant anu the halflife of the nucliue.
?.>;%.4
The uata is plotteu above. The slope (i) is given as
i =  (6.u6u)(22umin u)
i = u.u27S min
1
t12 = ln 2i = u.69Su.u27S = 2S.2 min.
What nucliue might this be.
6
It is uifficult to measuie the halflife of a veiy longliveu iauionucliue. Beie
vaiiation in uisintegiation iate may not be noticeable within a ieasonable length of time.
In this case, the uecay constant must be calculateu fiom the absolute uecay iate accoiuing
to Equation (S2). The absolute numbei of atoms of the iauioisotope piesent ($) in a given
sample can be calculateu accoiuing to
(S9)
The total mass of the iauioisotope in the given sample can be ueteimineu once the isotopic
composition of the sample is asceitaineu by such means as mass spectiometiy. When the
uecay constant is known, the halflife can then be ieauily calculateu. A table foi the half
lives of a numbei of the known nuclei can be founu in the Appenuices.
Although the halflife of a given iauionucliue is a uefineu value, the actual moment
of uisintegiation foi a paiticulai atom can be anywheie fiom the veiy beginning of the
nucliue's life to infinity. The aveiage oi mean life of a population of nuclei can, howevei, be
calculateu. The mean life + is natuially ielateu to the uecay constant anu is, in fact, simply
the iecipiocal of the uecay constant:
(S1u)
oi the mean life can be expiesseu in teims of the halflife:
(S11)
0ne can unueistanu the pieceuing ielationship by iecalling that the uecay constant, i, was
uefineu as the aveiage piobability of uecay pei unit time, so the 1i is the aveiage time
between uecays. The concept of aveiage life allows us to calculate of the total numbei of
7
paiticles emitteu uuiing a uefineu uecay peiiou. This numbei is essential in ueteimining
total iauiation uose ueliveieu by a iauioisotope sample, as in meuical ieseaich anu theiapy.
Buiing the time equal to one mean life, +, the activity falls to 1e of its oiiginal value. Foi a
sample of Nu nuclei with lifetimes ti, we can wiite foi the mean life +
(S12)
The aveiage oi mean life is also of funuamental physical significance because it is
the time to be substituteu in the mathematical statement of the Beisenbeig unceitainty
piinciple, !"#",
In this expiession ielating the unceitainty in eneigy of a system, AE, to its lifetime At, + ! At.
The quantity "E is calleu the wiuth, #.
The natuial unit of iauioactivity is uisintegiationstime, such as uisintegiation pei
seconu (ups) oi uisintegiations pei minute (upm), etc. The SI unit of iauioactivity is the
Becqueiel (Bq) wheie
1 Becqueiel (Bq) ! 1 uisintegiationsec.
Counting iates in a uetection system aie usually given in counts pei seconu (cps), counts
pei minute (cpm), etc., anu uiffei fiom the uisintegiation iates by a factoi iepiesenting the
uetectoi efficiency, c. Thus
8
(upm) c = (cpm)
An oluei unit of iauioactivity that still finus some use is the cuiie (Ci). It is uefineu
as
1 cuiie (Ci) = S.7x1u
1u
Bq = S.7x1u
1u
uiss
The cuiie is a huge unit of iauioactivity iepiesenting a veiy laige amount anu is
appioximately equal to the activity of one giam of iauium. The inventoiies of iauioactivity
in a nucleai ieactoi upon shutuown aie typically 1u
9
Ci while iauiation souices useu in
tiacei expeiiments have activities of Ci anu the enviionmental levels of iauioactivity aie
nCi oi pCi.
Note also that because iauionucliues, in geneial, have uiffeient halflives, the
numbei of nuclei pei cuiie will uiffei fiom one species to anothei. Foi example, let us
calculate how many nuclei aie in 1 NBq (~27 Ci) of tiitium(
S
B) (tV = 12.SS yi.). We know
that
But
Thus
The same calculation caiiieu out foi
14
C(tV) = S7Su yi) woulu give 2.6ux1u
17
nucleiNBq.
It is also inteiesting to calculate the mass associateu with 1 NBq of tiitium. We have
9
In othei woius, 1 NBq of tiitium contains about S ng of tiitium. Thus an impoitant featuie
of iauionucliues becomes appaient  we ioutinely woik with extiemely small quantities of
mateiial. Puie samples of iauioisotopes aie calleu "caiiieifiee".
0nless a iauionucliue is in a caiiieifiee state, it is mixeu homogeneously with the
stable nucliues of the same element. It is theiefoie uesiiable to have a simple expiession to
show the ielative abunuances of the iauioisotope anu the stable isotopes. This step is
ieauily accomplisheu by using the concept of 78#(!.!( '(%!)!%*, which iefeis to the amount of
iauioactivity pei given mass oi othei similai units of the total sample. The SI unit of
specific activity is Bqkg. Specific activity can also be expiesseu in teims of the
uisintegiation iate (Bq oi upm), oi counting iate (countsmin, cpm, oi countssec, cps), oi
cuiies (oi mCi, Ci) of the specific iauionucliue pei unit mass of the sample.
)6@ A<%;'& .B CD. E4,&$&4,&4%>2 1&/#24F +#,.4;/>,&5
Wheie two oi moie iauioisotopes with uiffeient halflives aie piesent in a sample
anu one uoes not oi cannot uistinguish the paiticles emitteu by each isotope, a composite
uecay iate will be obseiveu. The uecay cuive, in this situation, uiawn on a semi logaiithmic
plot, will not be a stiaight line. The uecay cuives of each of the isotopes piesent usually can
be iesolveu by giaphic means if theii halflives uiffei sufficiently anu if not moie than thiee
iauioactive components aie piesent. In the giaphic example shown in Figuie SS, line C
iepiesents the total obseiveu activity. 0nly the activity of the longeiliveu component 3 is
obseiveu aftei the shoiteiliveu component 9 has become exhausteu thiough uecay.
10
Extiapolation of this longtime poition of the cuive back to zeio time gives the uecay cuive
foi component 3 anu the activity of component A at t=u. The cuive foi component 9 is
obtaineu by subtiacting out, point by point, the activity values of component 3 fiom the
total activity cuive. If the halflives of the two components in such samples aie not
sufficiently uiffeient to allow giaphic iesolution, a uiffeiential uetection methou may be
applicable. If the iauiation chaiacteiistics of the nucliues in the mixtuie aie suitably
uistinct, !"#", emission of uiffeient paiticles oi $iays, it may be possible to measuie the
activity of one component without inteifeience fiom the iauiation emitteu by the othei
component. A case in point woulu be wheie one nucliue was a puie emittei, while the
othei emitteu both  anu yiays. In the case wheie the halflives of the components aie
known but aie not sufficiently uiffeient to allow giaphical iesolution of the uecay cuive,
computei techniques that utilize least squaies fitting to iesolve such a case aie also
available.


9<#=$>&G
uiven the following uecay uata, ueteimine the halflives anu initial activities of the
iauionucliues (B anu C) piesent:
t (h) A (cpm)
u.1 27u
u.S 21u
1.u 17u
1.S 1Su
2.u 11u
2.S 9u
S 8u
11
4 6S
S SS
7 44
1u S4
1S 22
Fiom the giaph, we see:
t12(B) = 8.u h Au (B) = 8u cpm
t12(C) = u.8 h Au(C) = 19u cpm
)6) +#,.#/%0& 1&/#2 9:;>H';=
When a iauionucliue uecays, it uoes not uisappeai, but is tiansfoimeu into a new
nucleai species of lowei eneigy anu often uiffeiing :6 36 ;6 <6 etc. The equations of
iauioactive uecay uiscusseu so fai have focuseu on the ueciease of the paient iauionucliues
but have ignoieu the foimation (anu possible uecay) of uaughtei, gianuuaughtei, etc.,
species. It is the foimation anu uecay of these "chiluien" that is the focus of this section.
12
Let us begin by consiueiing the case when a iauionucliue = uecays with uecay
constant i1, foiming a uaughtei nucleus > which in tuin uecays with uecay constant i2.
Schematically we have
= % > %
We can wiite teims foi the piouuction anu uepletion of 2, !"#",
iate of change of > =
nuclei piesent
at time t
iate of piouuction 
of >
iate of uecay of
>
(S1S)
wheie N1 anu N2 aie the numbeis of (1) anu (2) piesent at time %"
Reaiianging anu collecting similai teims
(S14)
Remembeiing that
(S1S)
we have
(S16)
This is a fiist oiuei lineai uiffeiential equation anu can be solveu using the methou of
integiating factois which we show below. Nultiplying both siues by , we have
(S17)
The left hanu siue is now a peifect uiffeiential
(S18)
Integiating fiom %=u to %5%, we have
13
(S19)
!
2 N
2 " t
e #
2
0
N =
1 "
2 " #
1 "
1
0
N (
( "
2
#
1 " )t
e #1) (S2u)
Nultiplying by anu ieaiianging gives
(S21)
wheie is the numbei of species (2) piesent at %=u. The fiist teim in Equation (S21)
iepiesents the giowth of the uaughtei uue to the uecay of the paient while the seconu teim
iepiesents the uecay of any uaughtei nuclei that weie piesent initially. Remembeiing that
A2 = i2N2, we can wiite an expiession foi the activity of 2 as
(S22)
These two equations, (S21) anu (S22) aie the geneial expiessions foi the numbei of
uaughtei nuclei anu the uaughtei activity as a function of time, iespectively.
The geneial behavioi of the activity of paient anu uaughtei species, as pieuicteu by
Equation (S22), is shown in Figuie S6. As one expects qualitatively foi , the initial
activity of the uaughtei is zeio, iises to a maximum, anu if one waits long enough,
eventually uecays.
Thus theie must be a time when the uaughtei activity is the maximum. We can
calculate this by noting the conuition foi a maximum in the activity of (2) is
14
(S2S)
Taking the ueiivative of Equation (S21) anu simplifying,
(S24)
Solving foi t
(S2S)
All of this uevelopment may seem like something that woulu be best hanuleu by a
computei piogiam oi just iepiesents a chance to piactice one's skill with uiffeiential
equations. But that is not tiue. It is impoitant to unueistanu the mathematical founuation
of this uevelopment to gain insight into piactical situations that such insight offeis. Let us
consiuei some cases that illustiate this point.
Consiuei the special case wheie i1 = i2. Plugging into Equations (S21) oi (S22), oi
a computei piogiam baseu upon them leaus to a uivision by zeio. Boes natuie theiefoie
foibiu i1 fiom equaling i2 in a chain of uecays. Nonsense! 0ne simply unueistanus that
one must ieuo the ueiivation (Equations (S1S) thiough (S21)) of Equations (S21) anu
(S22) foi this special case (see homewoik).
Let us now consiuei a numbei of othei special cases of Equations (S21) anu (S22)
that aie of piactical impoitance. ?@88A7# %,# B'@C,%#D E@(#@7 !7 7%'F# 1G > 5 &H" Then we
have
(S26)
(S27)
15
(S28)
These ielations aie shown in Figuie S7. They iepiesent the typical uecay of many
iauionucliues piepaieu by neution captuie ieactions, the type of ieaction that commonly
occuis in a nucleai ieactoi.
In Figuie S8, we show the activity ielationships foi paient anu uaughtei (as
pieuicteu by Equation (S22)) foi vaiious choices of the ielative values of the halflives of
the paient anu uaughtei nucliues. In the fiist of these cases, we have tV (paient) < tV
(uaughtei), !"#", the paient is shoitei liveu than the uaughtei. This is calleu the "EA
#I@!!FD!@J" case because the uaughtei builuup (uue to the uecay of the paient) is fastei
than its loss uue to uecay. Essentially all of the paient nucliues aie conveiteu to uaughtei
nucliues anu the subsequent activity is uue to the uecay of the uaughteis only. Thus the
name "no equilibiium" is useu. Piactical examples of this uecay type aie
1S1
Te %
1S1
I,
21u
Bi
%
21u
Po,
92
Si %
92
Y. This situation typically occuis when one is veiy fai fiom stability anu
the nuclei uecay by uecay towaius stability.
A seconu special case of Equations (S21) anu (S22) is calleu %D'E7!#E% #I@!!FD!@J
(Figuies S8b anu S9a). In this case, the paient is significantly (~1ux) longeiliveu than
the uaughtei anu thus contiols the uecay chain. Thus
i2 > i1 (S29)
In Equation (S21), as t % &,
(SSu)
anu we have
16
(SS1)
Substituting
(SS2)
we have
(SSS)
At long times, the iatio of uaughtei to paient activity becomes constant, anu both species
uisappeai with the effective halflife of the paient. The classic examples of this uecay
equilibiium aie the uecay of
14u
Ba (tV = 12.8 u) to
14u
La (tV = 4u hi) oi the equilibiium
between
222
Rn (tV = S.8 u) anu its shoitliveu uecay piouucts.
A thiiu special case of Equations (S21) anu (S22) is calleu 7#(@'D #I@!!FD!@J
(Figuie S8 (c+u), S9b). In this case, the paient is veiy much longei liveu (~1u
4
x) than the
uaughtei oi the paient is constantly being ieplenisheu thiough some othei piocess.
Buiing the time of obseivation, theie is no significant change in the numbei of paient
nuclei piesent, although seveial halflives of the uaughtei may occui. In the pievious case
of tiansient equilibiium, we hau
(SS4)
Since we now also have
i1 < < < i 2 (SSS)
we can simplify even moie to give
(SS6)
17
i1N1 = i2N2 (SS7)
A1 = A2
In shoit, the activity of the paient anu uaughtei aie the same anu the total activity of the
sample iemains effectively constant uuiing the peiiou of obseivation.
The natuially occuiiing heavy element uecay chains (see below) wheie
2S8
0 %
2u6
Pb,
2SS
0 %
2u7
Pb,
2S2
Th %
2u8
Pb anu the extinct heavy element uecay seiies
2S7
Np %
2u9
Bi
aie examples of seculai equilibiium because of the long halflives of the paients. Peihaps
the most impoitant cases of seculai equilibiium aie the piouuction of iauionucliues by a
nucleai ieaction in an acceleiatoi, a ieactoi, a stai oi the uppei atmospheie. In this case,
we have
Nucleai Reaction % (2) % (SS8)
which piouuces the iauionucliue 2 with iate R. If the ieaction is simply the uecay of a long
liveu nucliue, then R='1N1
u
anu N2
u
=u. Substitution into S21 gives the expiession
(SS9)
If the ieaction is slowei than the uecay oi
i1 < < i2 (S4u)
It is most appiopiiate to say (since i1 ( u)
(S41)
oi in teims of the activities
(S42)
18
Equation (S42) is known as the activation equation anu is shown in Figuie S1u.
Initially the giowth of the piouuct iauionucliue activity is neaily lineai (uue to the
behavioi of foi small values of 't) but eventually the piouuct activity becomes
"satuiateu" oi constant, uecaying as fast as it is piouuceu. At an iiiauiation time of one
halflife, half the maximum activity is foimeu; aftei 2 halflives, S4 of the maximum
activity is foimeu, etc. This situation gives iise to the iough iule that iiiauiations that
extenu foi peiious that aie gieatei than twice tV of the uesiieu iauionucliue aie usually not
woithwhile.
Equation (S21) may be geneializeu to a chain of uecaying nuclei of aibitiaiy length
in using the Bateman equations (Bateman, 191u). If we assume that at t=u, none of the
uaughtei nuclei aie piesent, , we get
(1) % (2) % (S), ....., (n) %
wheie
(S4S)
These equations uesciibe the activities piouuceu in new fuel in a nucleai ieactoi. No
fission oi activation piouucts aie piesent when the fuel is loaueu anu they giow in as the
ieactions take place.
19


9<#=$>&
Consiuei the uecay of a 1 Ci sample of puie
222
Rn (t12 = S.82 uays). 0se the
Bateman equations to estimate the activity of its uaughteis (
218
Po,
214
Pb,
214
Bi anu
214
Po)
aftei a uecay time of 4 houis.
The uecay sequence is
t12 S.82u S.1m 26.8m 19.9m 164sec
activity A B C B E
'(1u
4
s) u.u21 S7.S 4.S1 S.81 4.Sx1u
7
(Actually BA = 1.uuuS6)
The ieauei shoulu veiify that foi C, B anu E, the only significant teim is the teim
multiplying as it was foi B. Thus foi BA, we have
20
The ieauei shoulu, as an exeicise, compute the quantities of C anu E piesent.
)6I 8'#4/"4F 1&/#2
Some nucliues uecay by moie than one moue. Some nuclei may uecay by eithei
+
uecay oi election captuie; otheis by uuecay oi spontaneous fission; still otheis by yiay
emission oi inteinal conveision, etc. In these cases, we can chaiacteiize each competing
moue of uecay by a sepaiate uecay constant ii foi each type of uecay wheie the total uecay
constant, i, is given by the sum
(S44)
Coiiesponuing to each paitial uecay constant ii, theie is a paitial halflife wheie
(S4S)
anu the total halflife, t12, is the sum of the iecipiocals
(S46)
The fiaction of uecays pioceeuing by the i
th
moue is given by the obvious expiession
(S47)
By analogy, the eneigy unceitainty associateu with a given state, AE, thiough the
Beisenbeig unceitainty piinciple can be obtaineu fiom the lifetime contiibuteu by each
21
uecay moue. If we intiouuce the uefinition AE ! I, the level wiuth, then we can expiess I in
teims of the paitial wiuths foi each uecay moue Ii such that
(S48)
wheie
(S49)
wheie +i is the paitial mean life associateu with each uecay moue. This appioach is
especially useful in tieating the uecay of states foimeu in nucleai ieactions in which a
vaiiety of competing piocesses such as u emission, p emission, n emission, etc, may occui
as the nucleus ueexcites. In such cases, we can expiess the total wiuth as
I = I u + Ip + In (SSu)


9<#=$>&G
Consiuei the nucleus
64
Cu (t12 = 12.7uuh).
64
Cu is known to uecay by election
captuie (61%) anu

uecay (S9%). What aie the paitial halflives foi EC anu

uecay.
What is the paitial wiuth foi EC uecay.
?.>;%.4G
i = ln 212.7uuh = S.46 x 1u
2
h
1
i = iEC + i = iEC + (S961)iEC
iEC = S.S29 x 1u
2
h
1
t12
EC
= (ln 2)iEC = 2u.8 h
i = (S961)iEC = 2.128 x 1u
2
h
1
22
t12
= (ln 2)i = S2.6 h
+
EC
= t12
EC
ln 2 = Su.u h = 1u81S1 s
IEC =
!
!+
EC
= 6.S82 x 1u
22
Nev.s1u81S1 s = 6.1 x 1u
27
Nev
All natuially occuiiing iauioactive nuclei have extiemely small paitial wiuths. Biu you
notice that
64
Cu can uecay into
64
Zn anu
64
Ni. This is unusual but can occui foi ceitain ouu
ouu nuclei (see Chaptei 2).


)6J K#%;'#> +#,.#/%0%2
Theie aie appioximately 7u natuially occuiiing iauionucliues on eaith. Nost of
them aie heavy element iauioactivities piesent in the natuial uecay chains, but theie aie
seveial impoitant light element activities, such as
S
B,
14
C,
4u
K, etc. These iauioactive
species aie ubiquitous, occuiiing in plants, animals, the aii we bieathe, the watei we uiink,
the soil, etc. Foi example, in the 7u kg "iefeience man," one finus ~ 44uu Bq of
4u
K anu ~
S6uu Bq of
14
C, !"#", about 8uuu uiss uue to these two iauionucliues alone. In a typical 0S
uiet, one ingests ~1 pCiuay of
2S8
0,
226
Ra, anu
21u
Po. The aii we bieathe contains ~ u.1S
pCiL of
222
Rn, the watei we uiink contains >1u pCiL of
S
B while the eaith's ciust contains
~1u ppm anu ~4 ppm of the iauioelements Th anu 0. 0ne shoulu not foiget that the
inteiioi heat buuget of the planet Eaith is uominateu by the contiibutions fiom the
iauioactive uecay of uianium, thoiium, anu potassium.
The natuially occuiiing iauionucliues can be classifieu as: (a) 8D!JADB!'  !"#",
nucliues that have suiviveu since the time the elements weie foimeu (b) (A7JAC#E!(  !"#",
shoitei liveu nucliues foimeu continuously by the inteiaction of cosmic iays with mattei
23
anu (c) 'E%,DA8AC#E!(  !"#"6 a wiue vaiiety of nucliues intiouuceu into the enviionment by
the activities of man, such as nucleai weapons tests, the opeiation (oi misopeiation) of
nucleai powei plants, etc. The piimoiuial iauionucliues have halflives gieatei than 1u
9
yeais oi aie the uecay piouucts of these nuclei. This class incluues
4u
K (t12 = 1.277 x 1u
9
y),
87
Rb (t12 = 47.S x 1u
9
y),
2S8
0 (t12 = 4.467 x 1u
9
y),
2SS
0 (t12 = u.7u4 x 1u
9
y) anu
2S2
Th
(t12 = 14.uS x 1u
9
y) as its most impoitant membeis. (Auuitional membeis of this gioup
aie
11S
In,
12S
Te,
1S8
La,
144
Nu,
147
Sm,
148
Sm,
176
Lu,
174
Bf,
187
Re, anu
19u
Pt.)
4u
K is a

emitting nucliue that is the pieuominant iauioactive component of
noimal foous anu human tissue. Bue to the 146u kev yiay that accompanies the

uecay,
it is also an impoitant souice of backgiounu iauiation uetecteu by yiay spectiometeis.
The natuial concentiation in the bouy contiibutes about 17 miemyeai to the whole bouy
uose. The specific activity of
4u
K is appioximately 8SS pCig potassium. Bespite the high
specific activity of
87
Rb of ~24uu pCig, the low abunuance of iubiuium in natuie makes its
contiibution to the oveiall iauioactivity of the enviionment small.
Theie aie thiee natuially occuiiing uecay seiies. They aie the uianium (A = 4n + 2)
seiies, in which
2S8
0 uecays thiough 14 inteimeuiate nuclei to foim the stable nucleus
2u6
Pb, the actinium oi
2SS
0 (A = 4n + S) seiies in which
2SS
0 uecays thiough 11 inteimeuiate
nuclei to foim stable
2u7
Pb anu the thoiium (A = 4n) seiies in which
2S2
Th uecays thiough a
seiies of 1u inteimeuiates to stable
2u8
Pb (Figuie S11).
Because the halflives of the paient nuclei aie so long ielative to the othei membeis
of each seiies, all membeis of each uecay seiies aie in seculai equilibiium, !"#", the activities
of each membei of the chain aie equal at equilibiium if the sample has not been chemically
fiactionateu. Thus, the activity associateu with
2S8
0 in seculai equilibiium with its
24
uaughteis is 14x the activity of the
2S8
0. The notation 4n+2, 4n, 4n+S iefeis to the fact that
the mass numbei of each membei of a given chain is such that it can be iepiesenteu by 4n,
4n+2, 4n+S wheie n is an integei. (Theie is an auuitional uecay seiies, the 4n+1 seiies, that
is extinct because its longest liveu membei,
2S7
Np, has a halflife of only 2.1x1u
6
y, a time
that is veiy shoit compaieu to the time of element foimation.)
The uianium seiies contains two iauionucliues of special inteiest,
226
Ra (t12 = 16uu
y) anu its uaughtei, S8 u
222
Rn.
226
Ra (anu its uaughteis) aie iesponsible foi a majoi
fiaction of the iauiation uose ieceiveu fiom inteinal iauioactivity. Rauium is piesent in
iocks anu soils, anu as a consequence in watei, foou, anu human tissue. The high specific
activity anu gaseous uecay piouucts of iauium also make it uifficult to hanule in the
laboiatoiy.
226
Ra uecays by uemission to
222
Rn. This lattei nucliue is the piincipal culpiit in the
iauiation exposuies fiom inuooi iauon. Although iauon is an ineit gas anu is not tiappeu
in the bouy, the shoitliveu uecay piouucts aie ietaineu in the lungs when inhaleu if the
222
Rn uecays while it is in the lungs. Inuooi iauon contiibutes about 2 mSvyi
(2uu miemyi) to the aveiage iauiation exposuie in the 0.S., !"#", about 2S of the uose
fiom natuial souices. 0nuei noimal ciicumstances, iauon anu its uaughteis attach to uust
paiticles anu aie in theii equilibiium amounts. These uust paiticles can also ueposit in the
lungs. It has been estimateu that in the 0.S., S,uuu1u,uuu cases of lung cancei (612% of
all cases) aie uue to iauon exposuie.
The seconu class of natuially occuiiing iauionucliues is the (A7JAC#E!( nuclei,
piouuceu by the inteiactions of piimaiy anu seconuaiy cosmic iauiation with nuclei in the
stiatospheie. The most impoitant of these nuclei aie
S
B (tiitium),
14
C, anu
7
Be. Less
25
impoitantly,
1u
Be,
22
Na,
S2
P,
SS
P,
SS
S anu
S9
Cl aie also piouuceu. These nuclei move into the
tiopospheie thiough noimal exchange piocesses anu aie biought by the eaith's suiface by
iainwatei. Equilibiium is establisheu between the piouuction iate in the piimaiy cosmic
iay inteiaction anu the paitition of the iauionucliues amongst the vaiious teiiestiial
compaitments (atmospheie, suiface wateis, biospheie, etc.) leauing to an appioximately
constant specific activity of each nucliue in a paiticulai compaitment. When an oiganism
uies aftei being in equilibiium with the biospheie, the specific activity of the nucliue in that
sample will ueciease since it is no longei in equilibiium. This behavioi allows these
nucliues to act as tiaceis foi teiiestiial piocesses anu foi uating.
14
C (t12 = S7Su y) is foimeu continuously in the uppei atmospheie by cosmic iays
that piouuce neutions giving the ieaction
n (slow) +
14
N %
14
C + p
oi, in a shoithanu notation,
14
N(n, p)
14
C.
14
C is a soft

emittei (Emax ~ 1S8 kev). This
iauiocaibon (
14
C) ieacts with oxygen anu eventually exchanges with the stable caibon
(mostly
12
C) in living things. If the cosmic iay flux is constant, anu the teiiestiial piocesses
affecting
14
C incoipoiation into living things aie constant, anu theie aie no significant
changes in the stable caibon content of the atmospheie, then a constant level of
14
C in all
living things is founu coiiesponuing to ~1 atom of
14
C foi eveiy 1u
12
atoms of
12
C oi about
227 Bqkg Cj. When an oiganism uies, it ceases to exchange its caibon atoms with the pool
of iauiocaibon anu its iauiocaibon content uecieases in accoiu with Equation (S6).
Neasuiement of the specific activity of an olu object allows one to calculate the age of the
object (see below).
26
14
C ieaches the eaith's suiface at the iate of ~2.S atomscm
2
sec aftei piouuction
by cosmic iay inteiaction in the atmospheie, coiiesponuing to a total piouuction of
~1.4x1u
1S
Bqyi.
14
C is also foimeu by the
14
N(n, p) ieaction in atmospheiic tests of
nucleai weapons. About 2.2x1u
17
Bq weie maue in the atmospheiic test "spike" of the Sus
anu 6us that has been piimaiily tiansfeiieu to the oceans anu the biospheie. This means
that
14
C is the most significant fallout nucliue fiom the point of view of population uose.
Nucleai powei plants also ielease
14
C as pait of theii noimal opeiation fiom the (n,))
ieaction on
18
0 in the cooling watei, contiibuting ~u.1x1u
1S
Bqyi.
Tiitium (
S
B) is piouuceu natuially thiough atmospheiic cosmic iay inteiactions via
the ieaction
n (fast) +
14
N %
12
C +
S
B
Tiitium is also piouuceu in teinaiy fission anu by neution inuuceu ieactions with
6
Li anu
1u
B. Tiitium is a veiy weak

emittei with a halflife of 12.SS y. The global inventoiy of
natuially piouuceu tiitium is 9.6x1u
17
Bq. Tiitium is ieauily incoipoiateu in watei anu is
iemoveu fiom the atmospheie by iain oi snow. Its iesiuence time in the stiatospheie is 2
S yeais; aftei ieaching the tiopospheie it is iemoveu in 12 months. The "natuial"
concentiation of
S
B in stieams anu fiesh watei is ~1u pCiL.
The nucleai weapons tests of late Sus anu eaily 6us also injecteu a huge spike of
tiitium into the atmospheie along with
14
C. The tiitium levels in the tiopospheie incieaseu
by a factoi of 1uu at this time. Estimates of 2.4x1u
2u
Bq foi this spike have been maue.
Assuming that theie will not be moie atmospheie testing of nucleai weapons, the tiitium
fiom fallout shoulu ueciease with a halflife of 12.S y. At piesent the fallout tiitium in
suiface wateis is appioximately equal to that geneiateu fiom nucleai powei plant
27
opeiation (as a teinaiy fission piouuct oi fiom nieactions with
1u
B). (Nucleai plant
opeiation geneiates ~1u
16
Bqyi.) As a iesult of all of these uevelopments, the cuiient
tiitium content of suiface wateis is ~1ux the "natuial" level.
The thiiu piincipal component of enviionmental iauioactivity is that uue to the
activities of man, the 'E%,DA8AC#E!( iauionucliues. This gioup of nucliues incluues the
pieviously uiscusseu cases of
S
B anu
14
C along with the fission piouucts anu the
tiansuianium elements. The piimaiy souices of these nucliues aie nucleai weapons tests
anu nucleai powei plant acciuents. These events anu the gioss nucliue ieleases associateu
with them aie shown in Table S1. Except foi
14
C anu
S
B (T), the anthiopogenic
contiibutions fiom nucleai weapons testing oi use (which is the most significant souice of
manmaue enviionmental exposuie) aie negligible compaieu to othei souices of natuial
iauioactivity. (The piincipal component of these laige ieleases of iauioactivity was
shoiteiliveu fission piouucts like
1S1
I, which have uecayeu, leaving
1S7
Cs,
9u
Si, anu the Pu
isotopes as the nucliues of most concein. Foi fuithei uesciiptions of these events anu theii
enviionmental consequences, the ieauei is iefeiieu to the mateiial in the Refeiences.)
28
Table S1. Events leauing to laige injections of iauionucliues into the atmospheie.
(Fiom Choppin, Ryubeig anu Liljenzin)
Souice
Countiy
Time
Rauioactivity
Bq
Impoitant
nucliues
Biioshima
& Nagasaki
}apan
194S
4x1u
16
Fiss. piou.
Actiniues
Atmospheiic
weapons tests
0SA
0SSR
196S
2x1u
2u
Fiss. piou.
Actiniues
Winuscale
0K
19S7
1x1u
1S
1S1
I
Chelyabinsk
(Kysthym)
0SSR
19S7
8x1u
16
Fiss. Piou.
9u
Si,
1S7
Cs
Baiiisbuig
0SA
1979
1x1u
12
Noble gases,
1S1
I
Cheinobyl
0SSR
1986
2x1u
18
1S7
Cs
)6L +#,.4;/>,& 1#%4F
An impoitant application of the basic iauioactive uecay law is that of iauionucliue
uating. Fiom Equation (S6), we have
N = Nu e
it
(SS1)
We can solve this equation foi t
wheie Nu anu N aie the numbei of iauionucliues piesent at times t=u anu t=t anu i is the
uecay constant. The quantity % is the age of the object anu it can be ueteimineu fiom a
knowleuge of the nucleai uecay constant (t12) anu the numbei of iauioactive nuclei
piesent in the object now, $, anu initially, $u. Cleaily, $ can be ueteimineu by counting the
29
sample (A = iN), but the tiick is to ueteimine $u. 0ne obvious appioach is to iecognize that
foi a uecay of paient K to uaughtei L, the total numbei of nuclei is constant
L 1%H M K 1%H 5 K 1%&H " K
&
(SSS)
anu
(SS4)
so that
(SSS)
Thus by measuiing the cuiient iatio of uaughtei to paient atoms one can ueuuce
the age of the sample. (This assumes, of couise, that theie aie no uaughtei atoms piesent
at t=u, that they aie all uue to the paient uecay, anu that none have been lost.)
9<#=$>&
In a iock, one finus a nucliuic iatio of
2u6
Pb to
2S8
0 of u.6u. What is the age of the
iock.
% 5 N"=O=&
P *
If we want to ielax this lattei conuition that no uaughtei atoms weie piesent at t=u
(B (t=u) =u), then we neeu an auuitional teim
30
L 1%H M K 1%H 5 L
&
M K
&
(SS6)
anu we neeu to make an estimate of B
u
. Suppose theie is anothei isotope of the uaughtei
element that is stable anu is not foimeu in the uecay of anything else. We can assume that
L?1%H 5 L?
&
" L? (SS7)
wheie L? is the numbei of such stable atoms. Then, uiviuing by L?
(SS8)
Substituting anu ieaiianging,
(SS9)
Thus, if we plot a set of measuiements of , we will get a stiaight line with the
inteicept anu a slope of (e
it
 1). Figuie S12 shows such a plot of a set of meteoiite
samples using the
87
Rb
87
Si uecay as a chionometei (t12 = 4.7Sx1u
1u
y).
0thei geochionometeis that can be useu in a similai mannei involve the uecay of
1.277x1u
9
y
4u
K to
4u
Ai (KAi uating) oi the uecay of
2SS
0 oi
2S8
0 to theii
2u7
Pb anu
2u6
Pb
uaughteis. Each chionometei poses special pioblems with iegaiu to the loss of uaughtei
species ovei geologic time by uiffusion, melting, oi chemical piocesses,etc. The
"noimalizing" stable nucliue in the case of the uianium uecay seiies is
2u4
Pb anu in the case
of KAi uating, it is
S6
Ai. (See homewoik pioblems foi a fuithei uiscussion of these
methous.)
The uating methous uiscusseu up to now have been baseu on the use of longliveu
iauionucliues that aie piesent in natuie. Bating is also possible using "extinct
31
iauionucliues," !"#", nuclei whose halflives aie so shoit that if they existeu at the time of
foimation of oui solai system, they woulu have uecayeu away essentially completely by
now. The nucliues
129
I (t12 = 1.S7x1u
7
y) anu
244
Pu (t12 = 8.u8x1u
7
y) aie notewoithy
examples of this type of nucliue.
The uecay of extinct iauionucliues is measuieu by measuiing anomalies in the
isotopic abunuance of theii stable uaughteis. Foi example,
129
I uecays to
129
e anu its
uecay will leau to an anomalously high concentiation of
129
e in the mass spectium of e
isotopes founu in a iock system. What is uateu is the "foimation age" of the iock, !"#", the
time inteival between the isolation of the solai system mateiial fiom galactic
nucleosynthesis anu the time at which the iock cooleu enough to ietain its e. Foimally
this foimation age, A, may be calculateu as fiom the isotopic iatios in a fashion similai to
that of equation (SS9)
(S6u)
wheie
129
e
is the excess e attiibuteu to the uecay of
129
I,
127
I is the concentiation of
stable, noniauiogenic
127
I, i is the uecay constant foi
129
I, anu (
129
I
127
I)u is the iatio of the
abunuance of the iouine isotopes at the time of isolation fiom galactic nucleosynthesis.
This lattei iatio is ueiiveu fiom theoiies of nucleosynthesis anu is ~1u
4
.
The uecay of extinct
244
Pu is ueuuceu fiom excess abunuances of the nucliues
1S6
e,
1S4
e anu
1S2
e, piouuceu by the spontaneous fission of
244
Pu. 0nceitainties aiise because
theie is no stable isotope of Pu that can be useu in the way that
127
I is useu in Equation (S
32
6u) anu the use of othei heavy nucliues
2S8
0 oi
2S2
Th as "substitutes" leaus to uifficulties
uue to uiffeiences in piimoiuial piouuction anu chemistiy.
By fai the most impoitant uating methou involves the uecay of
14
C (t12 = S7Su y).
As inuicateu pieviously,
14
C is foimeu continuously by the cosmic iay inuuceu
14
N(n, p)
14
C
ieaction in the uppei atmospheie. This iauiocaibon (
14
C) exchanges with stable caibon
(
12
C) in living things leauing to the existence of a constant level of
14
C in living systems as
inuicateu schematically in Figuie S1S. When an oiganism uies, it will cease to exchange its
caibon atoms with the pool of iauiocaibon anu its iauiocaibon will uecay. Neasuiement of
the specific activity of an olu object allows the ueteimination of the age.
When oiganic mattei has uecayeu foi 1u oi moie halflives of
14
C, it is no longei possible to
uiiectly measuie the
14
C iauioactivity of an object. In these cases, one can use '((##D'%AD
J'77 78#(%DAJ#%D* (ANS) to count the atoms of
14
C uiiectly. An acceleiatoi, such as a
cyclotion oi tanuem van ue uiaaff, is useu as a mass spectiometei to sepaiate the
14
C
atoms fiom the moie pievalent
12
C oi
1S
C. Anothei uifficulty is the sepaiation of
14
C fiom
the ubiquitous
14
N isobai anu vaiious moleculai ions so acceleiatois aie useu to pioviue
eneigetic ions that can be iuentifieu with stanuaiu nucleai techniques. 0sing this
technique, it has been possible to ueteimine ages as long as 1uu,uuu y.
Example: Consiuei a sample of oiganic mateiial that contains 1 mg of C. Suppose it has a
14
C
12
C atom iatio of 1.2x1u
14
.
(a) how many
14
C atoms aie piesent.
(b) what woulu be the expecteu
14
C uisintegiation iate foi this sample.
(c) what is the age of this sample.
Solution:
33
(a)
(b)
= 2.S x 1u
6
Bq = u.2 uisuay
Note that a typical ANS facility woulu collect seveial thousanu of these
14
C
atoms in one houi.
(c) The assumeu constant specific activity of
14
C in natuie in the pienucleai eia
is 227 BqkgC oi 227x1u
6
Bqmg. Fiom Equation (SS2), the age woulu be
As noteu eailiei, the funuamental assumption in iauiocaibon uating is that the
specific activity of
14
C in natuie is anu has iemaineu constant. This assumes
the cosmic iay flux that geneiates the
14
C has been constant anu theie aie no souices of
14
C
oi
12
C that woulu change its equilibiium specific activity. Neithei of these assumptions is
stiictly tiue anu coiiections must be useu to obtain coiiect ages fiom iauiocaibon uating.
In Figuie S14, we show the typical magnituue of these coiiections. The piimaiy cosmic
iay flux is moueiateu by fluctuations in solai activity oi the eaith's magnetic fielu ovei
time. Since the Inuustiial Revolution, the global caibon cycle is out of balance uue to fossil
fuel buining (of "olu" nonactive fossil caibon). This has causeu a 1S% uilution of the
34
piehistoiic
14
C
12
C iatio. As noteu eailiei, atmospheiic testing of nucleai weapons
contiibuteu a spike to the global
14
C inventoiy that peituibeu the
14
C
12
C iatio by a factoi
of two in the opposite uiiection. Continueu opeiation of nucleai powei plants also
contiibutes an amount that is ~1u% of the "natuial"
14
C piouuction iate. Similaily, a uating
scheme foi watei containing objects, such as wines, baseu upon the equilibiium piouuction
of tiitium (
S
B) anu its uecay has been similaily peituibeu by an injection of thousanus of
times the natuial levels uue to atmospheiic testing.
35
+&B&'&4/&5
Tieatments of iauioactive uecay in othei textbooks that aie especially
iecommenueu.
1. R. B. Evans, Q,# 3%AJ!( $@(#@7, (NcuiawBill, New Yoik, 19SS).
2. u. Choppin, }. Ryubeig, anu }. 0. Liljenzin, R'B!A(,#J!7%D* 'EB $@(#'D +,#J!7%D*,
(Butteiwoith, 0xfoiu, 199S).
S. u. Fiieulanuei, }. W. Kenneuy, E. S. Nacias, anu }. N. Nillei, $@(#'D 'EB
R'B!A(,#J!7%D*, (Wiley, New Yoik, 1981).
4. K. Beyue, 9'7!( SB#'7 'EB +AE(#8%7 !E $@(#'D K,*7!(7, (I0P, Biistol, 1994).
S. W. B. Ehmann anu B. E. vance, R'B!A(,#J!7%D* 'EB $@(#'D T#%,AB7 A. 3E'*7!7,
(Wiley, New Yoik, 1991).
6. B. }. Ainikai, U77#E%!'7 A. $@(#'D +,#J!7%D*, 2nu Euition, (Wiley, New Yoik, 1982).
7. K. S. Kiane, SE%DAB@(%AD* $@(#'D K,*7!(7, (Wiley, New Yoik, 1988).
A.4.F'#$"5 #4, ?$&/#>M&, N'%/>&56
8. N. Eisenbuu, Enviionmental Rauioactivity, Siu Euition, (Acauemic, 0ilanuo, 1987).
36
9. 0NSCEAR >9S, Souices anu Effects of Ionizing Rauiation, (0N, New Yoik, 199S).
1u. B. Lal anu B. Suess, "The Rauioactivity of the Atmospheie anu Byuiospheie," Ann.
Rev. Nucl. Sci. 18, 4u7 (1968).
11. u. W. Wetheiill, "Rauiometiic Chionolgy of the Eaily Solai System," Ann. Rev. Nucl.
Sci. 2S, 28S (197S).
12. R.E. Tayloi, "Fifty Yeais of Rauiocaibon Bating", Ameiican Scientist 88, 6u (2uuu).
37
O'.H>&=5
1. Calculate the expecteu activity in Bq anu in Ci foi the following iauionucliues:
(see Appenuix foi nucleai uata)
(a) 1.u g
2S9
Pu (u) spontaneous fission activity
(b) 1.u g
14
C foi 1.u g
2S2
Cf
(c) 1.u g
1S7
Cs (e) 1 g
226
Ra
2. Consiuei the uecay sequence
2S9
0 %
2S9
Np %
2S9
Pu %
If you stait with 1 mCi of initially puie
2S9
0, what is the activity of
2S9
Pu aftei
a) 1 uay b) 1 month c) 1 yeai.
S. Calculate the time necessaiy to ieuuce the activities of the following nuclei to 1% of
theii initial values:
(a)
1S1
I (b)
S
B (c)
1S7
Cs (u)
14
C (e)
2S9
Pu
4. What is the mass (g) of the following activities
(a) 1 Ci
241
Am
(b) 1 pCi
2S9
Pu
38
(c) Suuu Bq
2S2
Cf
S. What is the paitial halflife foi uecay by spontaneous fission foi
2S2
Cf.
6. If
222
Rn is initially puiifieu fiom its uaughteis, how long uoes it take foi them to
giow back to Su% of theii values at seculai equilibiium.
7. What aie the paitial halflives of
22
Na foi uecay by (a) EC anu (b)
+
emission.
8. Calculate the ielative mass iatios of
2S8
0,
226
Ra anu
222
Rn in an olu uianium oie.
9. Consiuei the uecay of
14u
Ba to
14u
La. At what time uoes the
14u
La activity ieach a
maximum.
1u. Consiuei a ieactoi in which the piouuction iate of
2S9
0 via the
2S8
0 (n, y)
2S9
0
ieaction is 1u
S
atomss. Calculate the activity of
2S9
Pu aftei an iiiauiation of
(a) 1 uay (b) 1 month (c) 1 yeai.
11. What is the piobability of a
222
Rn atom uecaying in oui lungs. The atmospheiic
concentiation of
222
Rn may be assumeu to be 1 pCiL. In an aveiage bieath we
inhale u.S L of aii anu exhale it S.S s latei.
39
12. Consiuei a iauionucliue (uecay constant i) with activity A Bq at time t1. Calculate
the numbei of nuclei that uecay between times t1 anu t2.
1S. Consiuei the following uecay scheme (fiom Evans):
(a) Beiive expiessions foi the activity of B anu C as a function of time if at t=u,
A=A, B=C=B.
(b) What happens when the cioss ovei tiansition iS=u.
14. If one "milks" a sample of
99
No to iemove the uaughtei nucliue
99
Tc, how long uoes
it take befoie the
99
No "cow" has an equilibiium amount of
99
Tc piesent.
1S. Consiuei the case wheie A % B % C anu wheie iA = iB. Beiive an expiession foi the
activity of B as a function of time. Calculate the time tm when the activity of B
ieaches a maximum. Show that tm ( (*A*B)
12
wheie *A, *B aie the mean lives foi A
anu B.
A
B
C
"
1
"
2
"
3
"
4
40
16. A uianium mineial was founu to contain the Pb isotopes
2u4
Pb,
2u6
Pb anu
2u7
Pb in the
iatio of 1:1uuu:4uu. Estimate the age of this mineial. (Fiom Choppin, Ryubeig anu
Liljenzin)
17. What was the iate of piouuction of
24
Na in a Su m ieactoi iiiauiation of
2S
Na if the
activity of
24
Na was founu to be 1.u Ci S houis aftei the enu of iiiauiation.
18. Calculate the heat geneiateu pei kg of natuial uianium by the
2S8
0 anu the
2SS
0 in
seculai equilibiium with theii uecay piouucts. Assume all emitteu iauiation is
absoibeu.
19. uiven the following uata
Sample RbSi Weight Ratio
87
Si
86
Si Atom Ratio
1
21
1.u6
1.u6
u.7S97
u.7S97
2
42
S.S1
S.S1
u.8248
u.8248
S
S
6.61
6.61
u.9u8S
u.9u8S
4
4
9.SS
9.SS
u.9796
u.9796
S
S
1u.67
1u.67
1.u2uu
1.u2uu
Beteimine the age of the iock anu the initial
87
Si
86
Si iatio.
41
Figuie S1. Lineai uecay cuive.
Figuie S2. Semi logaiithmic uecay cuive.
42
Figuie SS. Relation between halflife anu iauioactivity.
43
Figuie S4. Biiect giaphic ueteimination of halflife.
44
Figuie SS. uiaphic iesolution of a composite uecay cuive.
45
Figuie S6. Illustiation of the conuitions of equilibiium between paient anu uaughtei.
Figuie S7. Becay of
6u
Co (halflife S.2S y) anu the giowth of
6u
Ni (stable).
46
Figuie S8. Activity cuives foi vaiious paientuaughtei ielationships: (a) shoitliveu
paient (+p < +B); (b) longliveu paient (+P > +B); (c) veiy longliveu paient (+P>>+B); (u)
almost stable, oi constantly ieplenisheu, paient (+P >>t >>+B).
47
Figuie S9. Typical cases of (a) tiansient anu (b) seculai equilibiium.
.
Figuie S1u. uiowth of the activity of a piimaiy ieaction piouuct inuuceu by a constant
bombaiument.
48
Figuie S11. The uecay seiies of 0
2S8
, 0
2SS
, anu Th
2S2
. Not shown aie seveial inteimeuiate
uaughtei piouucts of little significance in geochemical applications. Foi the
sake of completeness, olu notations still iefeiieu to fiequently in piesentuay
texts, e.g., RaA foi Po
218
, Io foi Th
2Su
, aie given in the scheme. (Fiom Choppin,
Ryubeig anu Liljenzin)
49
Figuie S12.
87
Rb 
87
Si evolution uiagiam foi six hypeisthene chonuiite meteoiites. The
uata can be inteipieteu as showing that 4.S4 billion yeais ago all of these iocks hau the
same
87
Si
86
Si iatio of u.7uuS. Fiom Wetheiill.
Figuie S1S. Aitist's conception of how
14
C is geneiateu anu incoipoiateu into living things.
(Repiinteu by peimission fiom: Ameiican Scientist 88, 62 (2uuu).)
51
Figuie S14. Coiiection to iauiocaibon ages foi coial samples baseu upon age estimates
maue foi the same samples using
2S4
0
2Su
Th ages.