Document Type thesis Author Name Borrelli, Robert Angelo URN etd-111099-165408 Title Characterization of Radioactivity in the Environment Degree MS Department Civil & Environmental Engineering Advisors Dr. James O'Shaughnessy, Advisor James B. Muckerheide, Co-Advisor Dr. Frederick L. Hart, Department Head Keywords environment quantification of radionuclides radioactivity Date of Presentation/Defense 1999-05-04 Availability unrestricted
Ionizing radiation is produced as the result of the decay of an unstable nucleus. The standard measure of radioactivity is quantified according to the rate of disintegration of the unstable nucleus. This method of quantification does not incorporate the total amount of ionizing radiation that is associated with each disintegration of the radionuclide. The ionizing
radiation that is produced as a result of decay is specific to a given radionuclide. A radionuclide can be conceptualized as a source of ionizing radiation. Disintegration of the unstable nucleus will therefore result in the continual release of ionizing radiation throughout the fixed existence of the radionuclide.
This thesis will present a reasonable and practical adjustment to the current mechanism regarding the quantification of radionuclides. This adjustment will provide a basis to which the specific decay attributes of radionuclides can be normalized. Such a normalization will allow for direct comparisons among important inventories of radionuclides. This adjustment will be used to formulate a characterization of common radionuclides that exist in the environment. Such a characterization can provide a control inventory of ionizing radiation to which more specific systems of radionuclides can be compared.
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