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Completely safe nuclear reactions?

  1. Oct 20, 2010 #1
    Do exist some nuclear reactions which are completely safe and produce no radiation whatsoever?
    And those radioactive materials could be used as convenient energy storage?
    For example,I know there exist such reaction as electron capture during which electron is captured, but not emitted.You could store bare necleises as stable and when getting in contact with electrons electron is captured and consumed.Electrical charge of atom is changed.Unfortunately if there is more then one electron in radioactive atom which is prone to electron capture there could be harmfull radiation associeted.Do exest some kind of this or similar reaction which is absolutely safe and cannot be misused by some terrorists?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 20, 2010 #2


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    Electron capture happens in proton-rich nuclei, that is nuclei that have more protons than stability allows. It is actually more common the positron emission.

    In electron capture, an electron, usually from the inner most shell is captured in the nucleus, and a proton is transformed into a neutron, and charge neutrality is maintained. The nuclear charge decreases by 1, but so does the number of electrons, because one electron is absorbed by the nucleus.

    One does not store bare nuclei.

    There would be no practical use for a 'safe' nuclear reaction. Such a reaction would have very low energy, or the nucleus would have a long half-life such that the activity would be very low.

    In fission, the fission reaction produces a lot of radiation.

    In fusion, there are 'safe' aneutronic reactions that do not produce neutron radiation, but usually these require conditions in which neutronic reactions would also occur.
  4. Oct 21, 2010 #3
    Not necessarly we need something as power dense as nuclear bomb.If it would provide the same power output as burning gasoline at would be quite acceptable and safe in a personal use.
    Some companies propose concept of tritium betavoltaic batteries which have half-life of 11 years, but I think would not be allowed because of dangerosity.Somebody could spill the tritium and pultute some area.
    I know there is still such reactions as nuclear magnetic resonance and similar where is no dangerous radiation.
    Fermi energy of nucleus is a thousands times greater than that of electron.But if there would be some practical way to use it.
    Do exsist some reactions on the verge of chemical and nuclear?
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2010
  5. Oct 21, 2010 #4


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    Something as power dense as a nuclear bomb? Before or after it is detonated. There is no way to control a detonated nuclear bomb. The pressures (and temperatures) simply exceed the capability of any material that exists.
    One has to make tritium, and that usually means an economic neutron sources, e.g., a nuclear reactor. The tritium source must then be processed in a special facility devoted to handling radioactive materials.

    Beta voltaics are not considered practical or viable. One stipulated 'safe' as a criteria/constraint.
    Not practical as an energy source. NMR simply means flipping the orientation of the nucleus. Think about the frequencies involves.
    Other than fission or fusion, what practical nuclear energy process/source can one think of?
    Please explain this question.
  6. May 18, 2011 #5
    1)I know that potential energy of a chemical system somewhat depends on difference between Fermi levels of reagents.Also I know that Fermi level is proportional to the mass of particles.Therefore Fermi energy of nuclei is millions times greater than that of electrons and mesured in MeV while that of electrons is mesured in eV.It means if we would be able to use Fermi energy of nuclei we would be able to store lots of energy.I don`t know how it could be done but for example there is reactions when bare proton is captured by atom or intercalated in some material.I don`t know what is Fermi energy dependance in such reactions.
    2)I know there exist some reactions when protons are able to consume and radiate GHz and THz radiations.
    3)Whats about dipoles of nuclei?Could we create some macroscopic electric polarization in material by orienting its dipole moments?
  7. May 18, 2011 #6


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    There is NO reaction that is completely safe. Even simply gasoline releases enough energy to create a bomb!

    In the sense of radiation and such, there potentially exists several reactions that release negligible radiation and are known as known as Aneutronic Fusion, but currently there is no way to create this reaction without expending more energy than you would get out of it.
  8. May 25, 2011 #7
    Do you know if there exist some ways to stimulate beta emission?
    I found mentions that such thing may be observed in extremely strong electric fields.
    For example there exist natural isotopes such as Potassium-40 or Zinc-70 which have extremely long half life.If there would be some way to find a ``catalyzer`` to make beta emisson occur instantly it would be a good source of electrons.About some ways to change nuclear decay rates you could read here:http://www.xs4all.nl/~johanw/PhysFAQ/ParticleAndNuclear/decay_rates.html" [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
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