Radionuclides in the EnvironmentChemical Principles:1. Nuclear Stability: Mass Number (A) = protons + neutrons Atomic Number (Z) = # of protons Atoms require additional neutrons as the number of protons increases to “dilute” the effects of proton-proton electrostatic repulsion. Thus the "stability belt" deviates from a 1:1 line. Atoms with more or fewer neutrons than that found in the stability belt have unstable nuclei and are radioactive. Proton NumberNeutron Numbern=pstable2. Radionuclides are chemically identical to their stable isotopes, but can react with significantly different rates. Environmental Paradigms:1. internalized (absorbed, ingested, inhaled) radionuclides pose the greatest health risk to biota 2. radionuclides provide internal clocks and tracers for the study of environmental processes
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