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Which element has "stronger" radiation?

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  1. Oct 22, 2014 #1
    Sorry if I am asking a stupid question. I recently had an argument with my friend which among this two is more dangerous: 3H or 235U(not considering its decay chain products). I was under the impression that 3H has an effective dose about 1000 times smaller than 235U due to its weak beta-radiation. Various sources seem to confirm my guess that at least per *activity* tritium is one of the least dangerous radiactive iostope. However my friend said because tritium has a shorter-half life and lighter nuclei, it has very high activity/gram rate, about 10^11 higher than 235U which means it is in fact "millions of times of more dangerous" than 235U.

    His argument sounds convincing but a little contradictory to what I was originally impressed. I know 235U itself isn't that dangerous as media reported but I never thought it is "millions of times of safer" than tritium...

    So is he correct on this argument? Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 22, 2014 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    "Dangerous" is not an intrinsic property of atoms. Are you talking the same activity or the same mass or the same volume or...? Are you inhaling, ingesting, touching or at a distance from the source? All of these influence risk.
     
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