The Formation of Thorium-234 from Uranium-238
Uranium-238 (U-238) is an unstable nuclide that undergoes radioactive decay via alpha, neutron, and gamma particle emission, a process known as alpha decay (Borrelli, 2016). This process produces a daughter nuclide, Thorium-234 (Th-234). U-238 has an atomic number (Z) of 92 and an atomic mass (A) of 238, with the reaction leaving the daughter nuclide with an A of 234 and Z of 90 (Hendricks et al., 2016). The process of alpha decay begins when U-238 nuclei spontaneously eject an alpha particle from the nucleus. An alpha particle is a helium nucleus made up of two protons and two neutrons (Hendricks et al., 2016). This emission reduces the U-238 nuclei to a Th-234 nucleus, with the alpha particle containing two protons and two neutrons (Borrelli, 2016). During the process, three neutrons are also emitted (Hendricks et al., 2016). The reaction of U-238 to Th-234 is a spontaneous decay process that releases energy, in the form of gamma radiation. Cont…
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