• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Radioisotopes to the Rescue

Extracts from this document...


Radioisotopes to the Rescue

By: Tahmid Zaman

        The modern era is the age of technological innovation. Everyday new inventions are created through science and helped better the lives of billions of people. One such innovation of the 20th century was the usage of radioactive isotopes to aid in various fields of science. A radioisotope occurs when a nucleus strives to achieve a balance between the protons and neutrons. All atoms seek a balance and when there is an excess of protons than neutrons in a nucleus that makes it unstable. To achieve this balance the nucleus tends to give up neutrons and in that process energy is released in the form of radiation. However, this great technological innovation brought along some risks, but the usefulness of such a technology far outweighs the few risks associated with it. While there are some risks involved, radiation from isotopes can be used in various ways in the fields of research, industry and medicine much to the benefit of society.

...read more.


        There are, however, the side effects to the radioactive isotope technology. Radioactive isotopes can be very harmful if not used right. In the research field, radioisotopes are constantly being studied, such as the use of particle accelerators where atomic particles are collided to study the effects. After the use of particle accelerators, the facilities are usually decommissioned and must be demolished. However, there are obvious radiations present in the particle accelerators and this may cause harm to the environment or people due to exposure. Also, harmful radioisotopes exist in the industrial world that may cause damage to the environment or people due to radiation exposure. In 1986, the Chernobyl reactor in Ukraine with a faulty design lead to a meltdown and millions of people were affected by the long-lasting Cesium-137 with a half-life of 30 years that emitted radiation over the decades. This shows industrial effects of radioisotopes when used in a wrong way.

...read more.



  1. "The Peaceful Atom." UIC. Oct. 2004. URANIUM INFORMATION CENTRE Ltd. 3 Mar. 2007 <http://www.uic.com.au/peac.htm>.
  1. "Medical and Industrial Uses of Radioactive Materials." Nuclear Energy Institute. Apr. 2003. Nuclear Energy Institute. 3 Mar. 2007 <http://www.nei.org/index.asp?catnum=3&catid=188>.
  1. "Medical Uses of Radioactive Materials." Nuclear Medicine Radiochemistry Society. 2003. Nuclear Medicine Radiochemistry Society. 3 Mar. 2007 <http://www.radiochemistry.org/nuclearmedicine/diagnostics/01_diagnostics.shtml>.
  1. Brady, James E., and Gerard E. Humiston. General Chemistry: Principles & Structure. U.S.a.: John Whiley & Sons, Inc., 1975. p.g.: 694.
  1. "Radioisotopes." Nuclear Threat Initiative. 2004. Nuclear Threat Initiative. 5 Mar. 2007 <http://www.nti.org/h_learnmore/radtutorial/plutonium238239.html>.
  1. "Radioactivity and Radioisotopes." NDT Resource Centre. Nondestructive Testing (NDT). 3 Mar. 2007 <http://www.ndt-ed.org/EducationResources/HighSchool/Radiography/radioactivity.htm>.

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Radioactivity section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Radioactivity essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Is nuclear power the future? Should we build more nuclear power stations in ...

    4 star(s)

    Wind farms can be up and running in less than a year. Groups opposed to nuclear power suggest that renewable energy sources are used instead, as well as cleaner fossil fuels. According to Greenpeace 'The real solutions to the energy gap and climate change are available now.

  2. Are mobile phones harmful to our health

    Conclusion In my conclusion I concluded that mobile phones are a huge risk to our health and if we don't do something about it, it could be dangerous for us for the next 10 years. At the end I came to A conclusion that scientific evidence proved that mobile phones

  1. Should radioactive smoke alarms be a compulsory purchase?

    fires in which a fire alarm was absent or not working, compared to those in which a smoke alarm successfully raised the alarm. From the table below I can see that between 2000-2004 the picture of the total number of fatalities is a mixed one, with an increase in 2002 and 2003 and a decrease in the intervening years.


    Nuclear power, unlike wind or solar energy, fits that bill" http://planetsave.com/blog/2008/01/15/devils-advocate-10-green-arguments-for-nuclear-power/ This short quote is emphasising that the renewable energy sources will simply not be able to supply people with the electricity that they need to use in their daily lives.

  1. Can mobile phones cause cancer

    nerve, which runs from your brain to your inner ear and controls balance and hearing". The latest data from the UK, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, included 678 people with acoustic neuroma and 3,553 without this form of tumor. The fact that 678 people got acoustic neuroma from mobile phones is horrendous.

  2. health risks of mobile phones

    General Accounting Office (GAO), a nonpartisan congressional agency that audits federal programs. The report went on to state that mobile phones operate at power levels well below the point at which such heating effects would take place. Radiation levels are tested based on the specific absorption rate (SAR), which is

  1. Finding a Power Supply for Space Probes - radioisotope thermoelectric generators, or RTGs.

    RTGs make their electricity by using thermocouples. To understand how a thermocouple works, lets take a trip back to 1821 to the great country of Estonia. There, scientist Thomas Seebeck found that a temperature difference between two dissimilar metals produces a voltage.

  2. P2 Assessed Home-Learning Are Mobile Phones Harmful?

    There has to be more studies and scientific explanations to make that data and results more reliable and credible to be sure of the causal link. Children have the potential to be at greater risk than adults for developing brain cancer from the use of mobile phones.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work