By J. Craig Robertson (auth.)
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Additional resources for A Guide to Radiation Protection
These tests are performed in the United Kingdom by the National Radiological Protection Board. Records must be maintained of all sources held, and when received, and notification must be made in writing to the appropriate authority of the loss of any sealed source or of the breakage or leakage of a source. At no time must a sealed source be manufactured from open source material. Radiation can affect the bonding properties of glues and other materials so that such sources are likely to leak eventually and spread contamination.
They can induce nuclear reactions in which case the neutron is absorbed or captured into the nucleus and ceases to be a separate particle. Very often, however, protons or alpha particles are produced following the neutron capture. These charged particles are then stopped in the material ionizing the atoms of the material as discussed above. Hence the energy of the neutron is transferred to the material in which it is captured. Neutrons can also transfer some of their energy to the material by 'bouncing ofr the nuclei in a manner similar to two billiard balls.
The decay is essentially a random process. We cannot forecast the time of decay of any particular nuclide in a source. All we can do is to state the chance of a particular nuclide decaying in any given second. Since a radionuclide has no memory this chance remains the same until the nuclide eventually decays. A, of the nuclide and it is RADIOACTIVE DECAY 35 the decay constant which determines if a source has a long half-life or not. If the nuclide has a very large decay constant, so that in a source very many of the nuclides are decaying per second, then clearly the source will have a short half-life since all the nuclides will quickly become inactive.