Mandatory Topic 1 (for MSc degree)

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Topic 1. Radioactivity, radionuclides and radiation – principles of nuclear physics to radiochemists
Aims:
To teach NRC students the basic knowledge in nuclear physics in order to understand the nature
of radioactivity, reasons for stability/instability of nuclides, modes of radioactive decay
processes, types of radiation emitted in radioactive decay processes and the rate of radioactive
decay.
Topics:
- structure of atom and nucleus, nucleons
- nuclides, radionuclides, isotopes, isobars, nuclide charts
- types and origin of radionuclides (natural decay series, primary primordial radionuclides,
secondary natural radionuclides, cosmogenic radionuclides, artificial radionuclides,
formation and occurrence)
- stability of nuclei (stable nuclides vs. radionuclides, masses on nucleons, mass deficiency,
binding energy, binding energy per nucleon, proton to neutron ratio, energy valley –
semiempirical equation of mass – beta parabola, fission, fusion)
- modes of radioactive decay
o fission (process, spontaneous vs. induced, energetics, formation of fission products,
fission yields, fissionable/fissile, nature of fission products)
o alpha decay (process, energetics, alpha recoil, decay to daughter’s ground state,
decay to daughter’s exited state, formation of alpha spectrum)
o beta decay (processes in beta minus decay, positron decay and electron capture,
energetics, beta recoil, neutrino/antineutrino, distribution of decay energy, formation
of beta spectrum, beta parabola for odd/even nuclides, secondary processes (gamma
decay, formation of Auger electrons and X-rays, annihilation of positrons)
o internal transition (gamma decay, internal conversion, energetics, gamma recoil,
metastable isomeric states, formation of gamma spectrum)
- rate of radioactive decay, half-life, activity units, activity concentrations vs. specific activity,
activity vs. count rate, determination of half-lives, equilibria in successive decay processes
- isotopic exchange - isotope effects
- principles and uses of nuclear power reactors