Radioactive Waste

14C is a radioactive isotope used as a marker in radiocarbondating certain historical remains. Carbon-14, which is renewed within living organisms, decays with a half-life of 5,730 years, and accurate estimates of age can be obtained up to 5,000 years. Check out the decay rate of Carbon-14 here and compare it with some other examples of radioactive materials and their lifetimes.

This calculator enables a comparison of the rate of decay of radioisotopes of elements, using the current date as a starting point. The unit of measurement used is milliCuries (mCi)

  • Hydrogen-3 is a radioactive gas which occurs to a very limited extent in atmospheric hydrogen
  • Phosphorus-32 is routinely used as a tracer element in the laboratory
  • Phosphorus-33 is used as a tracer in circumstances where lower energy beta emissions are advantageous
  • Sulphur-35 is a naturally produced radioisotope with a half-life of 87 days
  • Iodine-125 is a radioisotope with a half life of 59.4 days, which is used as a tracer element in medicine

The radioactive decay of elements such as Uranium leads ultimately to the formation of other elements at the end of a "series of decay". The alchemists had investigated the possibility of the transmutation of elements for many years without success, although through their studies they did achieve an understanding of the properties of the classical elements.

Amazon Books
Image of Nuclear Decommissioning, Waste Management, and Environmental Site Remediation
Author: Kevin Langley, Colin Bayliss
Publisher: Butterworth-Heinemann (2003)
Binding: Hardcover, 330 pages