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Understanding products of triated water decay

  1. Mar 20, 2014 #1
    Figured this was more a chemistry question than nuclear question, so I put it here.

    When an atom of tritium in [itex]^{3}_{1}H[/itex][itex]_{2}O[/itex] decays, it becomes [itex]^{3}_{2}He[/itex][itex]^{1+}[/itex] + [itex]e^{-}[/itex] + [itex]^{3}_{1}HO[/itex]

    This then quickly becomes [itex]^{3}_{2}He[/itex] + [itex]^{3}_{1}HO[/itex]

    I'm a little confused about the hydroxide. It needs another electron, so it's...positively charged? Anything else I have wrong?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 21, 2014 #2
    And I just now realized I misspelled "Tritiated" in the title.

  4. Mar 21, 2014 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    These are rather difficult things to predict. Note that both products of the fission are quite energetic and they both jump away from the initial point, ionizing water around. In the end it will all come to some kind of rest/equilibrium, but exact mechanism can take many paths.
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