Nuclear chemistry

Nuclear chemistry

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Nuclear
Nuclear chemistry
Nuclear chemistry is the subfield of chemistry dealing with radioactivity, nuclear processes and nuclear properties.It is the chemistry of radioactive elements such as the actinides, radium and radon together with the chemistry associated with equipment which are designed to perform nuclear...

 chemistry
is the subfield of chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

 dealing with radioactivity, nuclear processes and nuclear properties.

It is the chemistry of radioactive elements such as the actinides, radium
Radium
Radium is a chemical element with atomic number 88, represented by the symbol Ra. Radium is an almost pure-white alkaline earth metal, but it readily oxidizes on exposure to air, becoming black in color. All isotopes of radium are highly radioactive, with the most stable isotope being radium-226,...

 and radon
Radon
Radon is a chemical element with symbol Rn and atomic number 86. It is a radioactive, colorless, odorless, tasteless noble gas, occurring naturally as the decay product of uranium or thorium. Its most stable isotope, 222Rn, has a half-life of 3.8 days...

 together with the chemistry associated with equipment (such as nuclear reactor
Nuclear reactor
A nuclear reactor is a device to initiate and control a sustained nuclear chain reaction. Most commonly they are used for generating electricity and for the propulsion of ships. Usually heat from nuclear fission is passed to a working fluid , which runs through turbines that power either ship's...

s) which are designed to perform nuclear processes. This includes the corrosion
Corrosion
Corrosion is the disintegration of an engineered material into its constituent atoms due to chemical reactions with its surroundings. In the most common use of the word, this means electrochemical oxidation of metals in reaction with an oxidant such as oxygen...

 of surfaces and the behavior under conditions of both normal and abnormal operation (such as during an accident). An important area is the behavior of objects and materials after being placed into a nuclear waste storage or disposal site.

It includes the study of the chemical effects resulting from the absorption of radiation within living animals, plants, and other materials. The radiation chemistry
Radiation chemistry
Radiation chemistry is a subdivision of nuclear chemistry which is the study of the chemical effects of radiation on matter; this is very different from radiochemistry as no radioactivity needs to be present in the material which is being chemically changed by the radiation...

 controls much of radiation biology as radiation has an effect on living things at the molecular scale, to explain it another way the radiation alters the biochemicals within an organism, the alteration of the biomolecules then changes the chemistry which occurs within the organism, this change in biochemistry
Biochemistry
Biochemistry, sometimes called biological chemistry, is the study of chemical processes in living organisms, including, but not limited to, living matter. Biochemistry governs all living organisms and living processes...

 then can lead to a biological outcome. As a result nuclear chemistry greatly assists the understanding of medical treatments (such as cancer
Cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 radiotherapy) and has enabled these treatments to improve.

It includes the study of the production and use of radioactive sources for a range of processes. These include radiotherapy in medical applications; the use of radioactive tracer
Radioactive tracer
A radioactive tracer, also called a radioactive label, is a substance containing a radioisotope that is used to measure the speed of chemical processes and to track the movement of a substance through a natural system such as a cell or tissue...

s within industry, science and the environment; and the use of radiation to modify materials such as polymer
Polymer
A polymer is a large molecule composed of repeating structural units. These subunits are typically connected by covalent chemical bonds...

s.

It also includes the study and use of nuclear processes in non-radioactive areas of human activity. For instance, nuclear magnetic resonance
Nuclear magnetic resonance
Nuclear magnetic resonance is a physical phenomenon in which magnetic nuclei in a magnetic field absorb and re-emit electromagnetic radiation...

 (NMR) spectroscopy is commonly used in synthetic organic chemistry
Organic chemistry
Organic chemistry is a subdiscipline within chemistry involving the scientific study of the structure, properties, composition, reactions, and preparation of carbon-based compounds, hydrocarbons, and their derivatives...

 and physical chemistry
Physical chemistry
Physical chemistry is the study of macroscopic, atomic, subatomic, and particulate phenomena in chemical systems in terms of physical laws and concepts...

 and for structural analysis in macromolecular chemistry.

Early history


After the discovery of X-ray
X-ray
X-radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation. X-rays have a wavelength in the range of 0.01 to 10 nanometers, corresponding to frequencies in the range 30 petahertz to 30 exahertz and energies in the range 120 eV to 120 keV. They are shorter in wavelength than UV rays and longer than gamma...

s by Wilhelm Röntgen, many scientists began to work on ionizing radiation. One of these was Henri Becquerel
Henri Becquerel
Antoine Henri Becquerel was a French physicist, Nobel laureate, and the discoverer of radioactivity along with Marie Curie and Pierre Curie, for which all three won the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics.-Early life:...

, who investigated the relationship between phosphorescence
Phosphorescence
Phosphorescence is a specific type of photoluminescence related to fluorescence. Unlike fluorescence, a phosphorescent material does not immediately re-emit the radiation it absorbs. The slower time scales of the re-emission are associated with "forbidden" energy state transitions in quantum...

 and the blackening of photographic plates. When Becquerel (working in France) discovered that, with no external source of energy, the uranium generated rays which could blacken (or fog) the photographic plate, radioactivity was discovered. Marie Curie
Marie Curie
Marie Skłodowska-Curie was a physicist and chemist famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first person honored with two Nobel Prizes—in physics and chemistry...

 (working in Paris) and her husband Pierre Curie
Pierre Curie
Pierre Curie was a French physicist, a pioneer in crystallography, magnetism, piezoelectricity and radioactivity, and Nobel laureate. He was the son of Dr. Eugène Curie and Sophie-Claire Depouilly Curie ...

 isolated two new radioactive elements from uranium ore. They used radiometric methods to identify which stream the radioactivity was in after each chemical separation; they separated the uranium ore into each of the different chemical elements that were known at the time, and measured the radioactivity of each fraction. They then attempted to separate these radioactive fractions further, to isolate a smaller fraction with a higher specific activity (radioactivity divided by mass). In this way, they isolated polonium
Polonium
Polonium is a chemical element with the symbol Po and atomic number 84, discovered in 1898 by Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie. A rare and highly radioactive element, polonium is chemically similar to bismuth and tellurium, and it occurs in uranium ores. Polonium has been studied for...

 and radium
Radium
Radium is a chemical element with atomic number 88, represented by the symbol Ra. Radium is an almost pure-white alkaline earth metal, but it readily oxidizes on exposure to air, becoming black in color. All isotopes of radium are highly radioactive, with the most stable isotope being radium-226,...

. It was noticed in about 1901 that high doses of radiation could cause an injury in humans. Henri Becquerel
Henri Becquerel
Antoine Henri Becquerel was a French physicist, Nobel laureate, and the discoverer of radioactivity along with Marie Curie and Pierre Curie, for which all three won the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics.-Early life:...

 had carried a sample of radium in his pocket and as a result he suffered a high localised dose which resulted in a radiation burn
Radiation burn
A radiation burn is damage to the skin or other biological tissue caused by exposure to radio frequency energy or ionizing radiation.The most common type of radiation burn is a sunburn caused by UV radiation. High exposure to X-rays during diagnostic medical imaging or radiotherapy can also result...

http://www.britannica.com/nobel/micro/59_13.html this injury resulted in the biological properties of radiation being investigated, which in time resulted in the development of medical treatments.

Ernest Rutherford
Ernest Rutherford
Ernest Rutherford, 1st Baron Rutherford of Nelson OM, FRS was a New Zealand-born British chemist and physicist who became known as the father of nuclear physics...

, working in Canada and England, showed that radioactivity decay can be described by a simple equation (a linear first degree derivative equation, now called first order kinetics), implying that a given radioactive substance has a characteristic "half-life
Half-life
Half-life, abbreviated t½, is the period of time it takes for the amount of a substance undergoing decay to decrease by half. The name was originally used to describe a characteristic of unstable atoms , but it may apply to any quantity which follows a set-rate decay.The original term, dating to...

" (the time taken for the amount of radioactivity present in a source to diminish by half). He also coined the terms alpha
Alpha decay
Alpha decay is a type of radioactive decay in which an atomic nucleus emits an alpha particle and thereby transforms into an atom with a mass number 4 less and atomic number 2 less...

, beta
Beta decay
In nuclear physics, beta decay is a type of radioactive decay in which a beta particle is emitted from an atom. There are two types of beta decay: beta minus and beta plus. In the case of beta decay that produces an electron emission, it is referred to as beta minus , while in the case of a...

 and gamma rays, he converted nitrogen
Nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

 into oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

, and most importantly he supervised the students who did the Geiger-Marsden experiment
Geiger-Marsden experiment
The Geiger–Marsden experiment was an experiment to probe the structure of the atom performed by Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden in 1909, under the direction of Ernest Rutherford at the Physical Laboratories of the University of Manchester...

 (gold leaf experiment) which showed that the 'plum pudding model
Plum pudding model
The plum pudding model of the atom by J. J. Thomson, who discovered the electron in 1897, was proposed in 1904 before the discovery of the atomic nucleus. In this model, the atom is composed of electrons The plum pudding model of the atom by J. J. Thomson, who discovered the electron in 1897, was...

' of the atom
Atom
The atom is a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. The atomic nucleus contains a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons...

 was wrong. In the plum pudding model, proposed by J. J. Thomson
J. J. Thomson
Sir Joseph John "J. J." Thomson, OM, FRS was a British physicist and Nobel laureate. He is credited for the discovery of the electron and of isotopes, and the invention of the mass spectrometer...

 in 1904, the atom is composed of electrons surrounded by a 'cloud' of positive charge to balance the electrons' negative charge. To Rutherford, the gold foil experiment implied that the positive charge was confined to a very small nucleus leading first to the Rutherford model
Rutherford model
The Rutherford model or planetary model is a model of the atom devised by Ernest Rutherford. Rutherford directed the famous Geiger-Marsden experiment in 1909, which suggested on Rutherford's 1911 analysis that the so-called "plum pudding model" of J. J. Thomson of the atom was incorrect...

, and eventually to the Bohr model
Bohr model
In atomic physics, the Bohr model, introduced by Niels Bohr in 1913, depicts the atom as a small, positively charged nucleus surrounded by electrons that travel in circular orbits around the nucleus—similar in structure to the solar system, but with electrostatic forces providing attraction,...

 of the atom, where the positive nucleus is surrounded by the negative electrons.

In 1934 Marie Curie
Marie Curie
Marie Skłodowska-Curie was a physicist and chemist famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first person honored with two Nobel Prizes—in physics and chemistry...

's daughter (Irène Joliot-Curie
Irène Joliot-Curie
Irène Joliot-Curie was a French scientist, the daughter of Marie Skłodowska-Curie and Pierre Curie and the wife of Frédéric Joliot-Curie. Jointly with her husband, Joliot-Curie was awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1935 for their discovery of artificial radioactivity. This made the Curies...

) and her husband were the first to create artificial radioactivity: they bombarded boron
Boron
Boron is the chemical element with atomic number 5 and the chemical symbol B. Boron is a metalloid. Because boron is not produced by stellar nucleosynthesis, it is a low-abundance element in both the solar system and the Earth's crust. However, boron is concentrated on Earth by the...

 with alpha particles to make the neutron-poor isotope nitrogen-13
Nitrogen-13
Nitrogen-13 is a radioisotope of nitrogen used in positron emission tomography . It has a half life of a little under ten minutes, so it must be made at the PET site...

; this isotope emitted positron
Positron
The positron or antielectron is the antiparticle or the antimatter counterpart of the electron. The positron has an electric charge of +1e, a spin of ½, and has the same mass as an electron...

s. In addition, they bombarded aluminium
Aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

 and magnesium
Magnesium
Magnesium is a chemical element with the symbol Mg, atomic number 12, and common oxidation number +2. It is an alkaline earth metal and the eighth most abundant element in the Earth's crust and ninth in the known universe as a whole...

 with neutrons to make new radioisotopes.

Main areas


Radiochemistry
Radiochemistry
Radiochemistry is the chemistry of radioactive materials, where radioactive isotopes of elements are used to study the properties and chemical reactions of non-radioactive isotopes...

 is the chemistry of radioactive materials, where radioactive isotope
Isotope
Isotopes are variants of atoms of a particular chemical element, which have differing numbers of neutrons. Atoms of a particular element by definition must contain the same number of protons but may have a distinct number of neutrons which differs from atom to atom, without changing the designation...

s of elements are used to study the properties and chemical reaction
Chemical reaction
A chemical reaction is a process that leads to the transformation of one set of chemical substances to another. Chemical reactions can be either spontaneous, requiring no input of energy, or non-spontaneous, typically following the input of some type of energy, such as heat, light or electricity...

s of non-radioactive isotopes (often within radiochemistry the absence of radioactivity leads to a substance being described as being inactive as the isotopes are stable).

For further details please see the page on radiochemistry
Radiochemistry
Radiochemistry is the chemistry of radioactive materials, where radioactive isotopes of elements are used to study the properties and chemical reactions of non-radioactive isotopes...

.

Radiation chemistry


Radiation chemistry
Radiation chemistry
Radiation chemistry is a subdivision of nuclear chemistry which is the study of the chemical effects of radiation on matter; this is very different from radiochemistry as no radioactivity needs to be present in the material which is being chemically changed by the radiation...

 is the study of the chemical effects of radiation on matter; this is very different to radiochemistry
Radiochemistry
Radiochemistry is the chemistry of radioactive materials, where radioactive isotopes of elements are used to study the properties and chemical reactions of non-radioactive isotopes...

 as no radioactivity needs to be present in the material which is being chemically changed by the radiation. An example is the conversion of water into hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

 gas and hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is the simplest peroxide and an oxidizer. Hydrogen peroxide is a clear liquid, slightly more viscous than water. In dilute solution, it appears colorless. With its oxidizing properties, hydrogen peroxide is often used as a bleach or cleaning agent...

.

Chemistry for nuclear power


Radiochemistry, radiation chemistry and nuclear chemical engineering play very important role for uranium and thorium fuel precursors synthesis, starting from ores of these elements, fuel fabrication, coolant chemistry, fuel reprocessing, radioactive waste treatment and storage, monitoring of radioactive elements release during reactor operation and radioactive geological storage, etc http://www.nukleonika.pl/www/.../v56n3p241f.pdf

Study of nuclear reactions


A combination of radiochemistry and radiation chemistry is used to study nuclear reactions such as fission
Nuclear fission
In nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry, nuclear fission is a nuclear reaction in which the nucleus of an atom splits into smaller parts , often producing free neutrons and photons , and releasing a tremendous amount of energy...

 and fusion
Nuclear fusion
Nuclear fusion is the process by which two or more atomic nuclei join together, or "fuse", to form a single heavier nucleus. This is usually accompanied by the release or absorption of large quantities of energy...

. Some early evidence for nuclear fission was the formation of a short-lived radioisotope of barium
Barium
Barium is a chemical element with the symbol Ba and atomic number 56. It is the fifth element in Group 2, a soft silvery metallic alkaline earth metal. Barium is never found in nature in its pure form due to its reactivity with air. Its oxide is historically known as baryta but it reacts with...

 which was isolated from neutron
Neutron
The neutron is a subatomic hadron particle which has the symbol or , no net electric charge and a mass slightly larger than that of a proton. With the exception of hydrogen, nuclei of atoms consist of protons and neutrons, which are therefore collectively referred to as nucleons. The number of...

 irradiated uranium
Uranium
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element in the actinide series of the periodic table, with atomic number 92. It is assigned the chemical symbol U. A uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons, of which 6 are valence electrons...

 (139Ba, with a half-life of 83 minutes and 140Ba, with a half-life of 12.8 days, are major fission product
Fission product
Nuclear fission products are the atomic fragments left after a large atomic nucleus fissions. Typically, a large nucleus like that of uranium fissions by splitting into two smaller nuclei, along with a few neutrons and a large release of energy in the form of heat , gamma rays and neutrinos. The...

s of uranium). At the time, it was thought that this was a new radium isotope, as it was then standard radiochemical practice to use a barium sulphate carrier precipitate to assist in the isolation of radium
Radium
Radium is a chemical element with atomic number 88, represented by the symbol Ra. Radium is an almost pure-white alkaline earth metal, but it readily oxidizes on exposure to air, becoming black in color. All isotopes of radium are highly radioactive, with the most stable isotope being radium-226,...

.http://chemcases.com/nuclear/nc-03.htm. More recently, a combination of radiochemical methods and nuclear physics has been used to try to make new 'superheavy' elements; it is thought that islands of relative stability exist where the nuclides have half-lives of years, thus enabling weighable amounts of the new elements to be isolated. For more details of the original discovery of nuclear fission see the work of Otto Hahn
Otto Hahn
Otto Hahn FRS was a German chemist and Nobel laureate, a pioneer in the fields of radioactivity and radiochemistry. He is regarded as "the father of nuclear chemistry". Hahn was a courageous opposer of Jewish persecution by the Nazis and after World War II he became a passionate campaigner...

.

The nuclear fuel cycle


The chemistry associated with any part of the nuclear fuel cycle
Nuclear fuel cycle
The nuclear fuel cycle, also called nuclear fuel chain, is the progression of nuclear fuel through a series of differing stages. It consists of steps in the front end, which are the preparation of the fuel, steps in the service period in which the fuel is used during reactor operation, and steps in...

, including nuclear reprocessing
Nuclear reprocessing
Nuclear reprocessing technology was developed to chemically separate and recover fissionable plutonium from irradiated nuclear fuel. Reprocessing serves multiple purposes, whose relative importance has changed over time. Originally reprocessing was used solely to extract plutonium for producing...

. The fuel cycle includes all the operations involved in producing fuel, from mining, ore processing and enrichment to fuel production (Front end of the cycle). It also includes the 'in-pile' behaviour (use of the fuel in a reactor) before the back end of the cycle. The back end includes the management of the used nuclear fuel in either a cooling pond
Cooling pond
A cooling pond is a man-made body of water primarily formed for the purpose of supplying cooling water to a nearby power plant or industrial facility such as a petroleum refinery, pulp and paper mill, chemical plant, steel mill or smelter...

 or dry storage, before it is disposed of into an underground waste store or reprocessed
Nuclear reprocessing
Nuclear reprocessing technology was developed to chemically separate and recover fissionable plutonium from irradiated nuclear fuel. Reprocessing serves multiple purposes, whose relative importance has changed over time. Originally reprocessing was used solely to extract plutonium for producing...

.

Normal and abnormal conditions


The nuclear chemistry associated with the nuclear fuel cycle can be divided into two main areas, one area is concerned with operation under the intended conditions while the other area is concerned with maloperation conditions where some alteration from the normal operating conditions has occurred or (more rarely) an accident is occurring.
Law

In the United States it is normal to use fuel once in a power reactor before placing it in a waste store. The long term plan is currently to place the used civilian reactor fuel in a deep store. This non-reprocessing policy was started in March 1977 because of concerns about nuclear weapons proliferation
Nuclear proliferation
Nuclear proliferation is a term now used to describe the spread of nuclear weapons, fissile material, and weapons-applicable nuclear technology and information, to nations which are not recognized as "Nuclear Weapon States" by the Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons, also known as the...

. President Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 issued a Presidential directive
Presidential directive
Presidential Directives, better known as Presidential Decision Directives or PDD are a form of an executive order issued by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the National Security Council...

 which indefinitely suspended the commercial reprocessing and recycling of plutonium in the United States. This directive was likely an attempt by the United States to lead other countries by example, but many other nations continue to reprocess spent nuclear fuels. The Russian government under President Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin served as the second President of the Russian Federation and is the current Prime Minister of Russia, as well as chairman of United Russia and Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Union of Russia and Belarus. He became acting President on 31 December 1999, when...

 repealed a law which had banned the import of used nuclear fuel, which makes it possible for Russians to offer a reprocessing service for clients outside Russia (similar to that offered by BNFL
BNFL
British Nuclear Fuels Limited was a nuclear energy and fuels company owned by the UK Government. It was a former manufacturer and transporter of nuclear fuel , ran reactors, generated and sold electricity, reprocessed and managed spent fuel , and decommissioned nuclear plants and other similar...

).
PUREX chemistry

The current method of choice is to use the PUREX
PUREX
PUREX is an acronym standing for Plutonium - URanium EXtraction — de facto standard aqueous nuclear reprocessing method for the recovery of uranium and plutonium from used nuclear fuel. It is based on liquid-liquid extraction ion-exchange.The PUREX process was invented by Herbert H. Anderson and...

 liquid-liquid extraction
Liquid-liquid extraction
Liquid–liquid extraction, also known as solvent extraction and partitioning, is a method to separate compounds based on their relative solubilities in two different immiscible liquids, usually water and an organic solvent. It is an extraction of a substance from one liquid phase into another liquid...

 process which uses a tributyl phosphate
Tributyl phosphate
Tributyl phosphate, known commonly as TBP, is an organophosphorus compound with the formula 3PO. This colourless, odorless liquid finds some applications as an extractant and a plasticizer. It is an ester of orthophosphoric acid with n-butanol.- Production :Tributyl phosphate is manufactured by...

/hydrocarbon
Hydrocarbon
In organic chemistry, a hydrocarbon is an organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen and carbon. Hydrocarbons from which one hydrogen atom has been removed are functional groups, called hydrocarbyls....

 mixture to extract both uranium and plutonium from nitric acid
Nitric acid
Nitric acid , also known as aqua fortis and spirit of nitre, is a highly corrosive and toxic strong acid.Colorless when pure, older samples tend to acquire a yellow cast due to the accumulation of oxides of nitrogen. If the solution contains more than 86% nitric acid, it is referred to as fuming...

. This extraction is of the nitrate
Nitrate
The nitrate ion is a polyatomic ion with the molecular formula NO and a molecular mass of 62.0049 g/mol. It is the conjugate base of nitric acid, consisting of one central nitrogen atom surrounded by three identically-bonded oxygen atoms in a trigonal planar arrangement. The nitrate ion carries a...

 salts and is classed as being of a solvation
Solvation
Solvation, also sometimes called dissolution, is the process of attraction and association of molecules of a solvent with molecules or ions of a solute...

 mechanism. For example the extraction of plutonium by an extraction agent (S) in a nitrate medium occurs by the following reaction.

Pu4+aq + 4NO3-aq + 2Sorganic --> [Pu(NO3)4S2]organic

A complex bond is formed between the metal cation, the nitrates and the tributyl phosphate, and a model compound of a dioxouranium(VI) complex with two nitrates and two triethyl phosphates has been characterised by X-ray crystallography
X-ray crystallography
X-ray crystallography is a method of determining the arrangement of atoms within a crystal, in which a beam of X-rays strikes a crystal and causes the beam of light to spread into many specific directions. From the angles and intensities of these diffracted beams, a crystallographer can produce a...

.

When the nitric acid concentration is high the extraction into the organic phase is favoured, and when the nitric acid concentration is low the extraction is reversed (the organic phase is stripped of the metal). It is normal to dissolve the used fuel in nitric acid, after the removal of the insoluble matter the uranium and plutonium are extracted from the highly active liquor. It is normal to then back extract the loaded organic phase to create a medium active liquor which contains mostly uranium and plutonium with only small traces of fission products. This medium active aqueous mixture is then extracted again by tributyl phosphate/hydrocarbon to form a new organic phase, the metal bearing organic phase is then stripped of the metals to form an aqueous mixture of only uranium and plutonium. The two stages of extraction are used to improve the purity of the actinide
Actinide
The actinide or actinoid series encompasses the 15 metallic chemical elements with atomic numbers from 89 to 103, actinium through lawrencium.The actinide series derives its name from the group 3 element actinium...

 product, the organic phase used for the first extraction will suffer a far greater dose of radiation. The radiation can degrade the tributyl phosphate into dibutyl hydrogen phosphate. The dibutyl hydrogen phosphate can act as an extraction agent for both the actinides and other metals such as ruthenium
Ruthenium
Ruthenium is a chemical element with symbol Ru and atomic number 44. It is a rare transition metal belonging to the platinum group of the periodic table. Like the other metals of the platinum group, ruthenium is inert to most chemicals. The Russian scientist Karl Ernst Claus discovered the element...

. The dibutyl hydrogen phosphate can make the system behave in a more complex manner as it tends to extract metals by an ion exchange
Ion exchange
Ion exchange is an exchange of ions between two electrolytes or between an electrolyte solution and a complex. In most cases the term is used to denote the processes of purification, separation, and decontamination of aqueous and other ion-containing solutions with solid polymeric or mineralic 'ion...

 mechanism (extraction favoured by low acid concentration), to reduce the effect of the dibutyl hydrogen phosphate it is common for the used organic phase to be washed with sodium carbonate
Sodium carbonate
Sodium carbonate , Na2CO3 is a sodium salt of carbonic acid. It most commonly occurs as a crystalline heptahydrate, which readily effloresces to form a white powder, the monohydrate. Sodium carbonate is domestically well-known for its everyday use as a water softener. It can be extracted from the...

 solution to remove the acidic degradation products of the tributyl phosphate.
New methods being considered for future use

The PUREX process can be modified to make a UREX (URanium EXtraction) process which could be used to save space inside high level nuclear waste disposal sites, such as Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, by removing the uranium which makes up the vast majority of the mass and volume of used fuel and recycling it as reprocessed uranium
Reprocessed uranium
Reprocessed uranium is the uranium recovered from nuclear reprocessing, as done commercially in France, the UK and Japan and by nuclear weapons states' military plutonium production programs. This uranium actually makes up the bulk of the material separated during reprocessing...

.

The UREX process is a PUREX process which has been modified to prevent the plutonium being extracted. This can be done by adding a plutonium reductant before the first metal extraction step. In the UREX process, ~99.9% of the Uranium and >95% of Technetium
Technetium
Technetium is the chemical element with atomic number 43 and symbol Tc. It is the lowest atomic number element without any stable isotopes; every form of it is radioactive. Nearly all technetium is produced synthetically and only minute amounts are found in nature...

 are separated from each other and the other fission products and actinides. The key is the addition of acetohydroxamic acid (AHA) to the extraction and scrub sections of the process. The addition of AHA greatly diminishes the extractability of Plutonium and Neptunium
Neptunium
Neptunium is a chemical element with the symbol Np and atomic number 93. A radioactive metal, neptunium is the first transuranic element and belongs to the actinide series. Its most stable isotope, 237Np, is a by-product of nuclear reactors and plutonium production and it can be used as a...

, providing greater proliferation resistance than with the plutonium extraction stage of the PUREX process.

Adding a second extraction agent, octyl(phenyl)-N, N-dibutyl carbamoylmethyl phosphine oxide(CMPO) in combination with tributylphosphate, (TBP), the PUREX process can be turned into the TRUEX (TRansUranic EXtraction) process this is a process which was invented in the USA by Argonne National Laboratory, and is designed to remove the transuranic metals (Am/Cm) from waste. The idea is that by lowering the alpha activity of the waste, the majority of the waste can then be disposed of with greater ease. In common with PUREX this process operates by a solvation mechanism.

As an alternative to TRUEX, an extraction process using a malondiamide has been devised. The DIAMEX (DIAMideEXtraction) process has the advantage of avoiding the formation of organic waste which contains elements other than Carbon
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

, Hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

, Nitrogen
Nitrogen
Nitrogen is a chemical element that has the symbol N, atomic number of 7 and atomic mass 14.00674 u. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.08% by volume of Earth's atmosphere...

, and Oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

. Such an organic waste can be burned without the formation of acidic gases which could contribute to acid rain
Acid rain
Acid rain is a rain or any other form of precipitation that is unusually acidic, meaning that it possesses elevated levels of hydrogen ions . It can have harmful effects on plants, aquatic animals, and infrastructure. Acid rain is caused by emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen...

. The DIAMEX process is being worked on in Europe by the French CEA
Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique
The Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives or CEA, is a French “public establishment related to industrial and commercial activities” whose mission is to develop all applications of nuclear power, both civilian and military...

. The process is sufficiently mature that an industrial plant could be constructed with the existing knowledge of the process. In common with PUREX this process operates by a solvation mechanism.http://www.nea.fr/html/trw/docs/mol98/session2/SIIpaper5.pdfhttp://www.nea.fr/html/trw/docs/mol98/session2/SIIpaper2.pdf

Selective Actinide Extraction (SANEX). As part of the management of minor actinides it has been proposed that the lanthanides and trivalent minor actinides should be removed from the PUREX raffinate
Raffinate
Raffinating something is a technique used in metallurgy to remove impurities from liquid material. There are many different kinds of raffination, for example you can use vacuum to extract hydrogen from metals....

 by a process such as DIAMEX or TRUEX. In order to allow the actinides such as americium to be either reused in industrial sources or used as fuel the lanthanides must be removed. The lanthanides have large neutron cross sections and hence they would poison a neutron driven nuclear reaction. To date the extraction system for the SANEX process has not been defined, but currently several different research groups are working towards a process. For instance the French CEA
Commissariat à l'Énergie Atomique
The Commissariat à l'énergie atomique et aux énergies alternatives or CEA, is a French “public establishment related to industrial and commercial activities” whose mission is to develop all applications of nuclear power, both civilian and military...

 is working on a bis-triaiznyl pyridine (BTP) based process.

Other systems such as the dithiophosphinic acids are being worked on by some other workers.

This is the UNiversal EXtraction process which was developed in Russia and the Czech Republic, it is a process designed to remove all of the most troublesome (Sr, Cs and minor actinides
Minor actinides
The minor actinides are the actinide elements in used nuclear fuel other than uranium and plutonium, which are termed the major actinides. The minor actinides include neptunium, americium, curium, berkelium, californium, einsteinium, and fermium...

) radioisotopes from the raffinates left after the extraction of uranium and plutonium from used nuclear fuel
Nuclear fuel
Nuclear fuel is a material that can be 'consumed' by fission or fusion to derive nuclear energy. Nuclear fuels are the most dense sources of energy available...

. http://www.usembassy.it/file2001_12/alia/a1121910.htmhttp://www.osti.gov/bridge/product.biblio.jsp?osti_id=765723 The chemistry is based upon the interaction of caesium
Caesium
Caesium or cesium is the chemical element with the symbol Cs and atomic number 55. It is a soft, silvery-gold alkali metal with a melting point of 28 °C , which makes it one of only five elemental metals that are liquid at room temperature...

 and strontium
Strontium
Strontium is a chemical element with the symbol Sr and the atomic number 38. An alkaline earth metal, strontium is a soft silver-white or yellowish metallic element that is highly reactive chemically. The metal turns yellow when exposed to air. It occurs naturally in the minerals celestine and...

 with poly ethylene oxide
Ethylene oxide
Ethylene oxide, also called oxirane, is the organic compound with the formula . It is a cyclic ether. This means that it is composed of two alkyl groups attached to an oxygen atom in a cyclic shape . This colorless flammable gas with a faintly sweet odor is the simplest epoxide, a three-membered...

 (poly ethylene glycol
Ethylene glycol
Ethylene glycol is an organic compound widely used as an automotive antifreeze and a precursor to polymers. In its pure form, it is an odorless, colorless, syrupy, sweet-tasting liquid...

) http://www.osti.gov/em52/2003projsum/81895.pdf and a cobalt
Cobalt
Cobalt is a chemical element with symbol Co and atomic number 27. It is found naturally only in chemically combined form. The free element, produced by reductive smelting, is a hard, lustrous, silver-gray metal....

 carborane
Carborane
A carborane is a cluster composed of boron and carbon atoms. Like many of the related boranes, these clusters are polyhedra and are similarly classified as closo-, nido-, arachno-, hypho-, etc...

 anion (known as chlorinated cobalt dicarbollide) . The actinides are extracted by CMPO, and the diluent
Diluent
A diluent is a diluting agent.Certain fluids are too viscous to be pumped easily or too dense to flow from one particular point to the other. This can be problematic, because it might not be economically feasible to transport such fluids in this state.To ease this restricted movement, diluents...

 is a polar aromatic such as nitrobenzene
Nitrobenzene
Nitrobenzene is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5NO2. It is a water-insoluble pale yellow oil with an almond-like odor. It freezes to give greenish-yellow crystals. It is produced on a large scale as a precursor to aniline. Although occasionally used as a flavoring or perfume...

. Other dilents such as meta-nitrobenzotrifluoride
Fluoride
Fluoride is the anion F−, the reduced form of fluorine when as an ion and when bonded to another element. Both organofluorine compounds and inorganic fluorine containing compounds are called fluorides. Fluoride, like other halides, is a monovalent ion . Its compounds often have properties that are...

 and phenyl trifluoromethyl sulfone
Sulfone
A sulfone is a chemical compound containing a sulfonyl functional group attached to two carbon atoms. The central hexavalent sulfur atom is double bonded to each of two oxygen atoms and has a single bond to each of two carbon atoms, usually in two separate hydrocarbon substituents.-IUPAC name and...

 http://www.wmsym.org/Abstracts/2001/62/62-7.pdf have been suggested as well.

Absorption of fission products on surfaces


Another important area of nuclear chemistry is the study of how fission products interact with surfaces; this is thought to control the rate of release and migration of fission products both from waste containers under normal conditions and from power reactors under accident conditions. It is interesting to note that, like chromate
Chromate
Chromate salts contain the chromate anion, CrO42−. Dichromate salts contain the dichromate anion, Cr2O72−. They are oxyanions of chromium in the oxidation state +6. They are moderately strong oxidizing agents.- Chemical properties :...

 and molybdate
Molybdate
In chemistry a molybdate is a compound containing an oxoanion with molybdenum in its highest oxidation state of 6. Molybdenum can form a very large range of such oxoanions which can be discrete structures or polymeric extended structures, although the latter are only found in the solid state.The...

, the 99TcO4 anion can react with steel surfaces to form a corrosion
Corrosion
Corrosion is the disintegration of an engineered material into its constituent atoms due to chemical reactions with its surroundings. In the most common use of the word, this means electrochemical oxidation of metals in reaction with an oxidant such as oxygen...

 resistant layer. In this way, these metaloxo anions act as anodic
Anode
An anode is an electrode through which electric current flows into a polarized electrical device. Mnemonic: ACID ....

 corrosion inhibitor
Corrosion inhibitor
A corrosion inhibitor is a chemical compound that, when added to a liquid or gas, decreases the corrosion rate of a material, typically a metal or an alloy. The effectiveness of a corrosion inhibitor depends on fluid composition, quantity of water, and flow regime...

s. The formation of 99TcO2 on steel surfaces is one effect which will retard the release of 99Tc from nuclear waste drums and nuclear equipment which has been lost before decontamination (e.g. submarine
Submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

 reactors lost at sea). This 99TcO2 layer renders the steel surface passive, inhibiting the anodic corrosion
Corrosion
Corrosion is the disintegration of an engineered material into its constituent atoms due to chemical reactions with its surroundings. In the most common use of the word, this means electrochemical oxidation of metals in reaction with an oxidant such as oxygen...

 reaction. The radioactive nature of technetium makes this corrosion protection impractical in almost all situations. It has also been shown that 99TcO4 anions react to form a layer on the surface of activated carbon (charcoal
Charcoal
Charcoal is the dark grey residue consisting of carbon, and any remaining ash, obtained by removing water and other volatile constituents from animal and vegetation substances. Charcoal is usually produced by slow pyrolysis, the heating of wood or other substances in the absence of oxygen...

) or aluminium
Aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

.http://www.osti.gov/energycitations/product.biblio.jsp?osti_id=885448. A short review of the biochemical properties of a series of key long lived radioisotopes can be read on line.http://web.em.doe.gov/lowlevel/llw_apxc.html

99Tc in nuclear waste may exist in chemical forms other than the 99TcO4 anion, these other forms have different chemical properties.http://www.osti.gov/Reference_Linking/817638.pdf

Similarly, the release of iodine-131 in a serious power reactor accident could be retarded by absorption on metal
Metal
A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...

 surfaces within the nuclear plant.

Spinout areas


Some methods first developed within nuclear chemistry and physics have become so widely used within chemistry and other physical sciences that they may be best thought of as separate from normal nuclear chemistry. For example, the isotope effect is used so extensively to investigate chemical mechanisms and the use of cosmogenic isotopes and long-lived unstable isotopes in geology
Geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

 that it is best to consider much of isotopic chemistry as separate from nuclear chemistry.

Kinetics (use within mechanistic chemistry)


The mechanisms of chemical reactions can be investigated by observing how the kinetics of a reaction is changed by making an isotopic modification of a substrate, known as the kinetic isotope effect
Kinetic isotope effect
The kinetic isotope effect is the ratio of reaction rates of two different isotopically labeled molecules in a chemical reaction. It is also called "isotope fractionation," although this term is somewhat broader in meaning...

. This is now a standard method in organic chemistry
Organic chemistry
Organic chemistry is a subdiscipline within chemistry involving the scientific study of the structure, properties, composition, reactions, and preparation of carbon-based compounds, hydrocarbons, and their derivatives...

. Briefly, replacing normal hydrogen (protons) by deuterium
Deuterium
Deuterium, also called heavy hydrogen, is one of two stable isotopes of hydrogen. It has a natural abundance in Earth's oceans of about one atom in of hydrogen . Deuterium accounts for approximately 0.0156% of all naturally occurring hydrogen in Earth's oceans, while the most common isotope ...

 within a molecule causes the molecular vibration
Molecular vibration
A molecular vibration occurs when atoms in a molecule are in periodic motion while the molecule as a whole has constant translational and rotational motion...

al frequency of X-H (for example C-H, N-H and O-H) bonds to decrease, which leads to a decrease in vibrational zero-point energy
Zero-point energy
Zero-point energy is the lowest possible energy that a quantum mechanical physical system may have; it is the energy of its ground state. All quantum mechanical systems undergo fluctuations even in their ground state and have an associated zero-point energy, a consequence of their wave-like nature...

. This can lead to a decrease in the reaction rate if the rate-determining step involves breaking a bond between hydrogen and another atom. Thus, if the reaction changes in rate when protons are replaced by deuteriums, it is reasonable to assume that the breaking of the bond to hydrogen is part of the step which determines the rate.

Uses within geology, biology and forensic science


Cosmogenic isotopes are formed by the interaction of cosmic rays with the nucleus of an atom. These can be used for dating purposes and for use as natural tracers. In addition, by careful measurement of some ratios of stable isotopes it is possible to obtain new insights into the origin of bullets, ages of ice samples, ages of rocks, and the diet of a person can be identified from a hair or other tissue sample. (See Isotope geochemistry
Isotope geochemistry
Isotope geochemistry is an aspect of geology based upon study of the relative and absolute concentrations of the elements and their isotopes in the Earth. Variations in the abundance of these isotopes, typically measured with an isotope ratio mass spectrometer or an accelerator mass spectrometer,...

 and Isotopic signature
Isotopic signature
An isotopic signature is a ratio of stable or unstable isotopes of particular elements found in an investigated material...

 for further details).

Biology



Within living things, isotopic labels (both radioactive and nonradioactive) can be used to probe how the complex web of reactions which makes up the metabolism
Metabolism
Metabolism is the set of chemical reactions that happen in the cells of living organisms to sustain life. These processes allow organisms to grow and reproduce, maintain their structures, and respond to their environments. Metabolism is usually divided into two categories...

 of an organism converts one substance to another. For instance a green plant uses light energy
Energy
In physics, energy is an indirectly observed quantity. It is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems...

 to convert water
Water
Water is a chemical substance with the chemical formula H2O. A water molecule contains one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms connected by covalent bonds. Water is a liquid at ambient conditions, but it often co-exists on Earth with its solid state, ice, and gaseous state . Water also exists in a...

 and carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

 into glucose by photosynthesis
Photosynthesis
Photosynthesis is a chemical process that converts carbon dioxide into organic compounds, especially sugars, using the energy from sunlight. Photosynthesis occurs in plants, algae, and many species of bacteria, but not in archaea. Photosynthetic organisms are called photoautotrophs, since they can...

. If the oxygen in the water is labeled, then the label appears in the oxygen gas formed by the plant and not in the glucose formed in the chloroplasts within the plant cells.

For biochemical and physiological experiments and medical methods, a number of specific isotopes have important applications.
  • Stable isotopes have the advantage of not delivering a radiation dose to the system being studied; however, a significant excess of them in the organ or organism might still interfere with its functionality, and the availability of sufficient amounts for whole-animal studies is limited for many isotopes. Measurement is also difficult, and usually requires mass spectrometry
    Mass spectrometry
    Mass spectrometry is an analytical technique that measures the mass-to-charge ratio of charged particles.It is used for determining masses of particles, for determining the elemental composition of a sample or molecule, and for elucidating the chemical structures of molecules, such as peptides and...

     to determine how much of the isotope is present in particular compounds, and there is no means of localizing measurements within the cell.

  • H-2 (deuterium), the stable isotope of hydrogen, is a stable tracer, the concentration of which can be measured by mass spectrometry or NMR. It is incorporated into all cellular structures. Specific deuterated compound can also be produced.
  • N-15, the stable isotope of nitrogen, has also been used. It is incorporated mainly into proteins.

  • Radioactive isotopes have the advantages of being detectable in very low quantities, in being easily measured by scintillation counting or other radiochemical methods, and in being localizable to particular regions of a cell, and quantifiable by autoradiography. Many compounds with the radioactive atoms in specific positions can be prepared, and are widely available commercially. In high quantities they require precautions to guard the workers from the effects of radiation—and they can easily contaminate laboratory glassware and other equipment. For some isotopes the half-life is so short that preparation and measurement is difficult.


By organic synthesis it is possible to create a complex molecule with a radioactive label that can be confined to a small area of the molecule. For short-lived isotopes such as 11C, very rapid synthetic methods have been developed to permit the rapid addition of the radioactive isotope to the molecule. For instance a palladium
Palladium
Palladium is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Pd and an atomic number of 46. It is a rare and lustrous silvery-white metal discovered in 1803 by William Hyde Wollaston. He named it after the asteroid Pallas, which was itself named after the epithet of the Greek goddess Athena, acquired...

 catalysed carbonylation
Carbonylation
Carbonylation refers to reactions that introduce carbon monoxide into organic and inorganic substrates. Carbon monoxide is abundantly available and conveniently reactive, so it is widely used as a reactant in industrial chemistry.-Organic chemistry:...

 reaction in a microfluidic device has been used to rapidly form amides and it might be possible to use this method to form radioactive imaging agents for PET
Positron emission tomography
Positron emission tomography is nuclear medicine imaging technique that produces a three-dimensional image or picture of functional processes in the body. The system detects pairs of gamma rays emitted indirectly by a positron-emitting radionuclide , which is introduced into the body on a...

 imaging.http://www.rsc.org/Publishing/Journals/CC/article.asp?d.oi=b515410b
  • ³H, Tritium, the radioisotope of hydrogen, it available at very high specific activities, and compounds with this isotope in particular positions are easily prepared by standard chemical reactions such as hydrogenation of unsaturated precursors. The isotope emits very soft beta radiation, and can be detected by scintillation counting.

  • 11C, Carbon-11 can be made using a cyclotron
    Cyclotron
    In technology, a cyclotron is a type of particle accelerator. In physics, the cyclotron frequency or gyrofrequency is the frequency of a charged particle moving perpendicularly to the direction of a uniform magnetic field, i.e. a magnetic field of constant magnitude and direction...

    , boron
    Boron
    Boron is the chemical element with atomic number 5 and the chemical symbol B. Boron is a metalloid. Because boron is not produced by stellar nucleosynthesis, it is a low-abundance element in both the solar system and the Earth's crust. However, boron is concentrated on Earth by the...

     in the form of boric oxide is reacted with protons in a (p,n) reaction. An alternative route is to react 10B with deuterons. By rapid organic synthesis, the 11C compound formed in the cyclotron is converted into the imaging agent which is then used for PET.

  • 14C, Carbon-14 can be made (as above), and it is possible to convert the target material into simple inorganic and organic compounds. In most organic synthesis
    Organic synthesis
    Organic synthesis is a special branch of chemical synthesis and is concerned with the construction of organic compounds via organic reactions. Organic molecules can often contain a higher level of complexity compared to purely inorganic compounds, so the synthesis of organic compounds has...

     work it is normal to try to create a product out of two approximately equal sized fragments and to use a convergent route, but when a radioactive label is added, it is normal to try to add the label late in the synthesis in the form of a very small fragment to the molecule to enable the radioactivity to be localised in a single group. Late addition of the label also reduces the number of synthetic stages where radioactive material is used.

  • 18F, fluorine-18 can be made by the reaction of neon
    Neon
    Neon is the chemical element that has the symbol Ne and an atomic number of 10. Although a very common element in the universe, it is rare on Earth. A colorless, inert noble gas under standard conditions, neon gives a distinct reddish-orange glow when used in either low-voltage neon glow lamps or...

     with deuterons, 20Ne reacts in a (d,4He) reaction. It is normal to use neon gas with a trace of stable fluorine
    Fluorine
    Fluorine is the chemical element with atomic number 9, represented by the symbol F. It is the lightest element of the halogen column of the periodic table and has a single stable isotope, fluorine-19. At standard pressure and temperature, fluorine is a pale yellow gas composed of diatomic...

     (19F2). The 19F2 acts as a carrier which increases the yield of radioactivity from the cyclotron target by reducing the amount of radioactivity lost by absorption on surfaces. However, this reduction in loss is at the cost of the specific activity of the final product.

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)


NMR spectroscopy
Nuclear magnetic resonance
Nuclear magnetic resonance is a physical phenomenon in which magnetic nuclei in a magnetic field absorb and re-emit electromagnetic radiation...

 uses the net spin of nuclei in a substance upon energy absorption to identify molecules. This has now become a standard spectroscopic tool within synthetic chemistry. One major use of NMR is to determine the bond
Chemical bond
A chemical bond is an attraction between atoms that allows the formation of chemical substances that contain two or more atoms. The bond is caused by the electromagnetic force attraction between opposite charges, either between electrons and nuclei, or as the result of a dipole attraction...

 connectivity within an organic molecule.

NMR imaging also uses the net spin of nuclei (commonly protons) for imaging. This is widely used for diagnostic purposes in medicine, and can provide detailed images of the inside of a person without inflicting any radiation upon them. In a medical setting, NMR is often known simply as "magnetic resonance" imaging, as the word 'nuclear' has negative connotations for many people.

Text books


Radioactivity Radionuclides Radiation
Textbook by Magill, Galy. ISBN 3-540-21116-0, Springer, 2005.


Radiochemistry and Nuclear Chemistry
Comprehensive textbook by Choppin, Liljenenzin and Rydberg. ISBN 0-7506-7463-6, Butterworth-Heinemann, 2001 http://www.abcte.org/exam_preparation/chemistry/nuclear_chemistry_3.


Radioactivity, Ionizing radiation and Nuclear Energy
Basic textbook for undergraduates by Jiri Hála and James D Navratil. ISBN 80-7302-053-X, Konvoj, Brno 2003 http://www.litlit.com/Radioactivity.htm


The Radiochemical Manual
Overview of the production and uses of both open and sealed sources. Edited by BJ Wilson and written by RJ Bayly, JR Catch, JC Charlton, CC Evans, TT Gorsuch, JC Maynard, LC Myerscough, GR Newbery, H Sheard, CBG Taylor and BJ Wilson. The radiochemical centre (Amersham) was sold via HMSO, 1966 (second edition)


See also Important publications in nuclear chemistry