Chemical inhibitions of radioactive elements

In summary: Researchers at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil have created a radiation-proof ‘nanocage’ from a self-assembling polymer.The nanocage is made of a material called poly(3-hexylthiophene) and can block 99.9% of gamma radiation.The nanocage was created by subjecting the polymer to gamma radiation and then isolating the blocks that absorbed the most radiation.The nanocage could be used to store radioactive materials or to protect people from radiation.In summary, this article discusses a radiation-proof polymer nanocage that can block gamma radiation.
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Mayhem
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Is it possible to chemically inhibit (block/absorb) ionizing radiation from radioactive elements, and is any research being done in this area to use it for long term storage of nuclear waste (in conjunction with other precautions, of course)?
 
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Mayhem said:
chemically inhibit (block/absorb) ionizing radiation
What does this mean? Why isn't blocking it with lead, for example, something that fits this description?
 
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Vanadium 50 said:
What does this mean? Why isn't blocking it with lead, for example, something that fits this description?
If you could chemically inhibit, let's say, depleted uranium atomically such that the radiation is weakened, then transportation loads could be made lighter and accidental spills would be less catastrophic.
 
  • #4
Lead attenuates (is that what you mean by "weaken"?) the radiation.
 
  • #5
Mayhem said:
Is it possible to chemically inhibit (block/absorb) ionizing radiation from radioactive elements
In case of (any dangerous level/type of) radiation, the chemical bonds and radiation are just not playing in the same league. Shielding/absorbing in general is done through mechanical means (radiation bashing around atoms, electrons, nuclei and losing energy while bouncing back and forth)(well, mostly true, up to a certain value of 'true'), since this has no upper limit on energy transfer.
Chemistry has.

The only say chemistry has in this matter is about holding the right obstacles in right place in a convenient way.
 
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Blocking radiation chemically is sort of like blocking sound with a single sheet of paper, or a light beam with a single sheet of glass.

Chemical bonds involve the sharing of orbital Electrons between different atoms.

Nuclear Radiation is when a sub-atomic particular is emitted from the nucleus of an atom, and has nothing to do with the Electrons in orbit.

They are two completely different mechanisms.

Cheers,
Tom
 
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There are a few prominent instances where the electronic structure of a material will affect its radioactivity. Probably the most well-known is the case where a nucleus undergoes electron capture (inverse beta decay) as a decay mechanism. The half-life is dependent on the electron density at the nucleus, which is dependent on the chemical environment of the atom.
https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.93.112501
In this PRL paper, beryllium-7 was observed to have a shorter half life (by several percent) when placed inside a fullerene. The higher electron density at the beryllium nucleus makes electron capture more likely, shortening the half life.

In principle, the half life for alpha decay should also change slightly when the electron density at the nucleus changes, as the Coulomb portion of the potential that the alpha has to tunnel through is altered. I have a vague memory of a paper from long ago saying this effect is very very small.

Technically, I guess Mossbauer spectroscopy falls into this camp too. The energy of a gamma photon emitted from an excited nucleus (usually Fe-57 or some cobalt nucleus) changes depending on the chemical environment the nucleus is in.
 
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None of that has any relevance to the OP's application of storing nuclear waste.
 
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Related to Chemical inhibitions of radioactive elements

1. What are chemical inhibitions of radioactive elements?

Chemical inhibitions of radioactive elements refer to the use of certain chemicals or compounds to slow down or stop the decay process of radioactive elements. This can help reduce the harmful effects of radiation and make it easier to handle and dispose of radioactive materials.

2. How do chemical inhibitions work?

Chemical inhibitions work by either absorbing or blocking the particles emitted during radioactive decay, which slows down the rate of decay. They can also help stabilize the unstable nuclei of radioactive elements, making them less likely to undergo decay.

3. What types of chemicals are used for inhibiting radioactive elements?

There are several types of chemicals that can be used for inhibiting radioactive elements, including lead, boron, and cadmium. These chemicals are often chosen because they have a high atomic mass and can effectively absorb or block radiation.

4. Are chemical inhibitions safe?

Yes, chemical inhibitions are generally safe when used properly. However, it is important to handle and dispose of these chemicals carefully to avoid any potential hazards. It is also important to follow proper safety protocols when working with radioactive materials.

5. What are the applications of chemical inhibitions of radioactive elements?

Chemical inhibitions of radioactive elements have various applications, such as in nuclear power plants, medical facilities, and research laboratories. They can also be used in the production and storage of nuclear weapons, as well as in the cleanup of radioactive waste.

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