Radioactive Essay

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DISCUSS THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND HEALTH IMPORTANCE OF RADIOACTIVE ISOTOPES. A radionuclide, or a radioactive nuclide, is an atom with an unstable nucleus, characterized by excess energy available to be imparted either to a newly created radiation particle within the nucleus or via internal conversion. Nuclear medicine uses radiation to provide diagnostic information about the functioning of a person's specific organs, or to treat them.( Bakker,A. 1936-7)Diagnostic procedures are now routine.Radiotherapy can be used to treat some medical conditions, especially cancer, using radiation to weaken or destroy particular targeted cells.Tens of millions of nuclear medicine procedures are performed each year, and demand for radioisotopes is increasing rapidly. The nucleus of a radioisotope usually becomes stable by emitting an alpha and/or beta particle. These particles may be accompanied by the emission of energy in the form of electromagnetic radiation known as gamma rays. This process is known as radioactive decay. ( Gurin.S. & Hood, D.B 1939. ) Radioisotopes have very useful properties: radioactive emissions are easily detected and can be tracked until they disappear leaving no trace. Alpha, beta and gamma radiation, like x-rays, can penetrate seemingly solid objects, but are gradually absorbed by them. The extent of penetration depends upon several factors including the energy of the radiation, the mass of the particle and the density of the solid. These properties lead to many applications for radioisotopes in the scientific, medical, forensic and industrial fields.There are around 3800 radioactive isotopes. At present there are up to 200 radioactive isotopes used on a regular basis, and while some are found in nature, most others have to be manufactured to suit specific needs, such as for hospitals, research labs and manufacturers Radioactive isotopes can be

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