# Can a radioactive element decay by emitting more than 1 particles at once?

1. Sep 9, 2006

Staight question :

Can a radioactive element decay by emmitting more than 1 particles at once? ie. can a radioactive Uranium decay 2 beta and 1 alpha particles at the same time, or it must decay 1 particle (eg beta), itself becomes another elements and then decay further?

thanks

2. Sep 9, 2006

### Staff: Mentor

The short answer is no.

Radioactive decay is essentially exclusively by one particle (mode) during a single event.

In the case of fission, where the nuclear breaks apart into two nuclei, a number of neutrons are also released. The number of neutrons varies between 2 or 3, with the average value in between.