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Author Topic: Is radon more radioactive than uranium?  (Read 2585 times)

Offline taregg

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Is radon more radioactive than uranium?
« on: 05/05/2013 15:47:26 »
Is radon more radioactive than uranium?
« Last Edit: 05/05/2013 20:06:14 by chris »


 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: does radon more radioactive than uranium
« Reply #1 on: 05/05/2013 16:13:17 »
It probably depends on what isotopes you choose but for the commonly observed ones: yes radon is about 300 thousand million times more radioactive than uranium (on a weight for weight basis).
 

Offline taregg

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Re: does radon more radioactive than uranium
« Reply #2 on: 05/05/2013 16:56:19 »
What i mean the same element not ther isotopes... http://0.tqn.com/d/chemistry/1/5/L/g/1/PeriodicTableRadioactivity.png
 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: does radon more radioactive than uranium
« Reply #3 on: 05/05/2013 17:24:57 »
There are lots of isotopes of uranium
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotopes_of_uranium
most of them are less radioactive that the commonest isotope of radon.
There are also lotsof isotopes of radon
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotopes_of_radon

When you are talking about radioactivity, you can't ignore the isotopes.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: does radon more radioactive than uranium
« Reply #4 on: 05/05/2013 19:03:08 »
You could limit your search to the common naturally occurring isotopes, although it does ignore the isotopes that could be found in a nuclear reactor and nuclear waste.

Uranium:
238U, half life, 4.47 billion years (most common naturally occurring isotope).
235U, half life 703 million years.
234U, half life 245 thousand years.

Radon:
218Rn, half life 35ms
219Rn, half life 3.96s
220Rn, half life 55.6s
222Rn, half life 3.8d (most common isotope)

However, radioactive decay alone is only half the picture.

Uranium, and especially 235U is fissile.  I.E. it not only releases alpha, beta, and gamma particles, but it can also break into large chunks in a self sustaining reaction.

Radon is not fissile.

So, if one was building a simple heater, or perhaps a light emitting, glowing device, Radon may be better than uranium.  However, for a nuclear power plant, Uranium is a much more powerful nuclear fuel due to the fission reaction.

Also note that different isotopes decay to different subatomic particles.  Alpha and beta particles do little damage outside of the body, but cause significant damage when ingested or inhaled.  Gamma radiation is the primary risk from outside of the body. 

Radon, being a gas, is easily inhaled, and thus can affect the body internally.
« Last Edit: 05/05/2013 22:31:54 by CliffordK »
 

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Re: does radon more radioactive than uranium
« Reply #4 on: 05/05/2013 19:03:08 »

 

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