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Talk:Nuclear chemistry

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 Definition Subfield of chemistry dealing with radioactivity, nuclear processes and nuclear properties. [d] [e]
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Structure of this page

I'm a bit hazy: Is this not meant to be a general introduction to the topic, becuase I'm not 100% clear on the working group/discipline homepage/defacto category/list/whatever paradigm yet. I'm going to work on the presumption that it is meant to be an article first, please correct me if I'm wrong. - brenneman 06:14, 22 December 2006 (CST)

Hi Aaron, I was trying to write a short introduction to the area of chemistry with some examples to explain what nuclear chemistry is. I was hoping to include at least one example of each of the main areas of nuclear chemistry.Mark Rust
  • Did some copyediting - not my field, but I think you need to get a Chemistry editor to oversee approval who has not worked on the article, according to CZ rules.

Think you need a longer lead, that can serve as an abstract of the whole article. The reference style is not worked out yet, but can you get web links to the cited references? Important for verificationGareth Leng 16:06, 23 December 2006 (CST)


  • Do we have to use references which are on line references. My worry is that many references which are on line are ones which the normal reader has to pay to read (a bit like a pay per view system). I think that we should use a combination of books which could be obtained through a good science libary and references to journal articles.Mark Rust
  • No clear rules on references and a combination is fine, but the content needs to be verified before approval, so linking makes this much easier (to an abstract is usually enough), and open access sources of course are ideal. I think we need to establish an expectation that Journal references will have been checked for CZ articles.Gareth Leng 09:06, 25 December 2006 (CST)
Hi, I saw with interest that you suggested that journal references should be checked as part of the process of apporving an article. I have used a large number of Elsevier journal references for writing the nuclear chemistry page, I do not know if you want to read each reference in full but if you want to look at the papers (or just the abstracts) then please go to [1]. I think that the idea of an editor who has had little to do with the writing making a judegment about the journal references is a good idea and should be a part of the peer review process which leads to the approval of a page.Mark Rust 05:40, 28 December 2006 (CST)

Further work

  • I'd suggest that this article is not yet ready to be approved. The lead needs work, and there are several sections where the prose also has room for improvement. I'll probably not be able to do much over the next few days, but following from the new year I'm happy to work on this. - brenneman 16:29, 23 December 2006 (CST)
    • I see your point that the text is not perfect, but I am thinking that the content is better than the "nuclear chemistry" page at wikipedia. The page we have here is likely to provide the reader with a reasonable overview of the subject, I would like to know what we should be aiming to do. Should each page be an overview of a topic, or as detailed as a undergraduate textbook ?Mark Rust
      No question its much much better than WP, and to me as an outsider it looks like a good clear overview. I think that as we are preparing for the full launch, we need our approved articles to display all the qualities that we would aspire CZ should reach, we want to start with a high bar on approval (not unrealistically high, but these articles will be templates for what follows in the short term) ;-)Gareth Leng 09:06, 25 December 2006 (CST)
      And finally, no not all articles should be detailed and technical, and this article is a gateway into others so should be relatively simple and uncluttered with detail. We're aiming at all classes of article, from for the intelligent layman to for the expert, and an article shouldn't necessarily try to meet all these readers, it might help to state on the Talk page exactly the audience aimed at here, that would make feedback more focussed. Gareth Leng 09:10, 25 December 2006 (CST)


Proposed structure Current structure
  1. Early history
  2. Main areas
    1. Radiochemistry
    2. Radiation chemistry
    3. Study of nuclear reactions
      1. Radioisotope production
        1. Neutrons
        2. Other
        3. Uses
    4. The nuclear fuel cycle
      1. The study of used fuel
      2. Fuel cladding interactions
      3. Absorption of fission products on surfaces
  3. Spinout areas
    1. Kinetics (use within mechanistic chemistry)
    2. Uses within geology, biology and forensic science
    3. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)
  4. References
  5. Text books
  1. Early history
  2. Main areas
    1. Radiochemistry
    2. Radiation chemistry
    3. Study of nuclear reactions
      1. Radioisotope production
        1. Processes
          1. Slow neutrons
          2. Fast neutrons
          3. Fast protons, deuterons and other positive projectiles
          4. Formation by the decay of parent isotopes
        2. Uses
          1. Sealed sources
    4. The nuclear fuel cycle
      1. The study of used fuel
      2. Fuel cladding interactions
      3. Absorption of fission products on surfaces
  3. Spinout areas
    1. Kinetics
    2. Geology, biology and forensic science
    3. Nuclear magnetic resonance
  4. References
  5. Text books
    1. Radiochemistry and Nuclear Chemistry
    2. Radioactivity, Ionizing radiation and Nuclear Energy
    3. The Radiochemical Manual

Maybe if we could begin by talking about final article length, as well as the level of detail desired? I've whacked in the existing outline with a proto-ouline to the left. If everyone adds/takes away from the proposed until we're all happy? - brenneman 21:03, 27 December 2006 (CST)

Target audience

I think that we should aim for a person who is an undergraduate who has no prior experience of the topic. The article should be a mixture of text and pictures, I joke that a picture with a decent caption (plus decent text) is worth 10000 words. A pretty picture with no text which puts it in context is worth zero words.Mark Rust

I appear to fit your target audience to a tee (undergraduate in a science, but with little chemistry experience (tested out of Chem 101)). I'll be back before the 31st. Also, please sign with 4 tildes (~~~~) instead of 3, so that the date and time of your signature show up (this talk page will get really messy really fast if it's anything like Talk:Biology or Talk:Chiropractic. Happy Holidays --ZachPruckowski 01:59, 26 December 2006 (CST)

Whit is SIMFUEL exactly? I'm checking the references. Think it's looking good, it seems to make sense to me as a total stranger to it all. I played about with the layout a bit to get it more compact on the page. Think you need a lead image to go on the right of the contents list. Gareth Leng 10:40, 28 December 2006 (CST)

Dear Gareth, I have put an answer as to what SIMFUEL is on your talk page. I have a slight problem with a picture as it is difficult to get a copyright free picture. I may well e-mail someone I know and ask for some photos (which they are happy about releasing into the public domain).Mark Rust 10:46, 28 December 2006 (CST)

You might consider this? [2] or this [3]?Gareth Leng 11:17, 28 December 2006 (CST)

An Outsider's Thoughts

First of all, to put my Exec Committee hat on for the moment, someone needs to fix the ToApprove template. It didn't point at the correct article. The proper steps to take are:

  1. Select the history tab while looking at the article page. That will bring you here.
  2. Then select one of the blue dates and times (each of those represent a version) and open it.
  3. Copy the URL-box into your clipboard, and paste it into the "url=...|" part of the template.

I updated the template to point to the current version (at least the current version as of this writing) only to fix it to actually point at a page, not to claim that as the right version. Mark Rust or Gareth Leng, one of you two need to pick a version in the history that you like (assuming the current version isn't OK), and you two need to make sure that you update that to a working and acceptable version whenever you've got one (because of responding to criticism, finding errors, etc.) Also, make sure there's an underscore in the title where the space is (Nuclear_chemistry versus Nuclear chemistry), or the link messes up.

Now on to my read-through of the article. It is clearly aimed not just at college undergraduates, but specifically at Chemistry undergraduates (which put it rather a bit over my head in some areas). That is OK for an article like this, because it is a sub-field of Chemistry, and not aimed at the average passerby. That said, I think that the beginning could use some more information as to practical benefits of nuclear chemistry. There is discussion in the article about how "sealed sources" and "open sources" of radiation have medical uses, and there's a section on "Spinout areas". At least a few sentences from those could be repeated up top, since a fair few visitors will want to ask merely "what is Nuclear Chemistry?", get a 1-2 paragraph answer, and be on their merry way. Those readers need to be addressed as well as the chem students (who are currently well-addressed by the article). Imagine that you have 30-45 seconds to sell the concept of nuclear chemistry to your wife/girlfriend's friend, who is a non-scientist, and just wants the basics of what it is, what it means, and what it does. --ZachPruckowski (Who forgot to sign at first)

Approval process

I have been told that I am not formally permitted to put forward the nuclear chemistry article for approval. I am not sure what the exact rules, but I am keen to avoid being accused of trying to "self approve" my own work. So I am removing the approval notice from the article. Other chemistry editors should consider if the article should be put forward again for approval, I will continue to work on the article.Mark Rust 20:50, 29 December 2006 (CST)

Who said that? As I understand the process, you do need either one additional uninvolved editor, or two other involved editors backing you, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to have the article approved by this time next week at the latest. There seem to be two certified editors (Mark Rust and Gareth Leng) here, so you need one additional Chemistry Editor, but you only need him/her on board by the final approval date (which was Jan 2nd, no?), and you need all three editors to be OK with a single version of the article. If Jan 2nd rolls around and there are three editors involved in the page, it should work out fine. --ZachPruckowski 23:23, 29 December 2006 (CST)
I was told this on my talk page by User:Sarah Tuttle. I had thought that I was permitted to nominate my own haniwork for approval and that would only required the approval of a single uninvolved editor to have an article approved. My own view is that an editor should be able to nominate his own work for approval, perhapes a need exists for a new template for an editor requesting a second editor to make the approval.Mark Rust 03:22, 30 December 2006 (CST)

Yes I think you're right Mark, we need to make it possible for authors in some way to activate the approval process. I think you've done a great job here and the article is looking good; I'm not qualified to endorse the content, but on other aspects this article is a considerable credit to CZ.Gareth Leng 10:55, 30 December 2006 (CST)

Hola. I'm sorry if there was a misunderstanding, Mark. What I said (or meant to say) was that the article can not be approved *solely* by you, as you have obviously done the majority of the work here. I mentioned "other editors from your workgroup", and there wasn't anywhere I could find either one uninvolved editor or three involved editors who were onboard for approval. As the deadline was coming up, I just wanted to encourage you to find those other editors if you thought the article was ready for approval. The way that our approval process works right now has you putting a frozen version into the "toapprove" template. Gareth & I have been discussing how to more formally "activate" approval, or rally needed editors - right now it probably makes the most sense to just solicit them through workgroups when they are needed. Anyway, as I said before - the article is looking really good and I think is a great article to put up for approval - we just need the ducks in a row, as it were. -- Sarah Tuttle 11:54, 30 December 2006 (CST)

Sorry if I caused a problem here. We all seem to be saying similar things: The article is great, but as a matter of policy, we need either one uninvolved editor or three involved editors. Which requires that you recruit one or two additional editors qualified in Chemistry. Again, I apologize if I caused confusion. --ZachPruckowski 12:47, 30 December 2006 (CST)

Although I am writing the biological isotopes applications section., I'm available for approval otherwise if you think all the parts are together. Someone else chan check me on the biochem. DavidGoodman 04:05, 1 January 2007 (CST)

Nuclear medicine v. Radiation Oncology

I'm just getting here for a first look, and I'd like to bring up an issue for discussion. In the treatment and diagnosis of people and animals in medicine and vetinerary medicine there is a distinction made in administration of radioactive chemicals and in the administration of radiation itself. For example, the administration of radioactive iodine to a person in order to treat a thyroid tumor is not handled by the same physicians, or generally even the same department, as the adminstration of external beam radiation to a thyroid tumor. On the one hand, once the external radiation interacts with a person's tissue, perhaps that might be considered some form of nuclear chemistry, in an abstract sense, but - at least in the United States, the term nuclear chemistry would never be used to refer to such a procedure. Most nuclear medicine, to my knowedge, is used in diagnostic procedures like radioisotope imaging scans. In external radiation, there is the sharp distinction in medicine between diagnostic radiology, in which x-rays are used in very low levels for imaging, and radiation oncology, in which external radiation is used at near toxic levels on limited areas of the body for the retardation of malignant cell division.

This distinction would be an important one for users reading this article because they themselves, or family members, have been advised to undergo (or are undergoing) such procedures.

What I'm trying to say is that nuclear medicine is a very distinct area of medicine and it is not the same as nuclear chemistry. We MD's consider MRI to rely on principlres of physical chemistry, but that term "nuclear chemistry" is not one I am familiar with. For me, the issue of nuclear in the word nuclear magenetic resonance imaging is not a question of being scary, at first we said NMR, then "imaging" became a popular addition, and it was NMRI, then MRI in many places. I think actually expalining how the spin produces an image would be very worthwhile. Similarly, for x-ray.

Perhaps other MDs or medically astute Ph Ds might comment. Nancy Sculerati MD 09:31, 1 January 2007 (CST)

Dear Nancy, you are right that it is very unlikely that the same department/person would do both teletherphy and also the work with open sources such as I-131/Tc-99m. I added the medical use of radioactive sources as it fitted in well in my mind with the dicussion of source production and design. To my mind the design of a source is nuclear chemistry/nuclear technology no matter if the source will be used in a smoke detector, an antistatic device or into a irradation device (eg food or cancer treatment). The design of the source will oftein involve some chemistry, as it is important to choose the best chemical form of the active material and also the correct physical packing is needed. Oftein the final use will have an effect on the source design, becuase different requirements will lead to different design features.
I can add some more details, I have seen diagrams of things such as the insides of teletherphy sources (showing how the Co-60 is placed inside the thimble like source which sits in the centre of the lump of metal used to shield the source).
Do you think we should include some content which explains what happens when radiation is absorbed by matter, such as human tissue ? I know something of what happens when water is irradated.
Also do you think we should add something on the subject of now NMR works, I know that in medical work that Gd complexes are used sometimes as contrast agents. Do you need/want details of how Gd compounds increase the relaxation rate of water ?Mark Rust 17:53, 2 January 2007 (CST)

I don't understand it, help please

It's true that I'm a bit foggy this January 1st morning, but I just don't understand the article. Is Nuclear Chemistry a branch of Physical Chemistry? I honestly don't understand. I think it's fair to say that if I don't, others outside of the field won't, so I'm asking you to make it plainer. It's not that you should "dumb it down", it's that you should explain in nontechnical language from first principles rather than use generalities. I'll come back to read it again, Nancy Sculerati MD 09:58, 1 January 2007 (CST)

Dear Nancy, I would hold the view that nuclear chemistry is not a sub area of physical chemistry. Nuclear chemistry is an area which includes all chemistry which relates to radioactive materials (eg source production and design), radiation chemistry and the chemistry associated with nuclear equipment (eg corrosion and water chemistry in a PWR).Mark Rust 17:39, 2 January 2007 (CST)

Comments from a Quick Read

I did a quick read of the article and the main comment I have is about NMR being considered a subcategory of nuclear chemistry in the abstract. I realize in the early beginnings of NMR that was probably true, but not any more. Yes, there is still overlap. I like that you mention it as a spin-off, but I dislike how it is worded in the abstract. Fred Salsbury 06:27, 11 January 2007 (CST)

NMR is a part of nuclear chemistry, where structural analysis as well as reaction kinetics is involved. Strictly spoken it has nothing to do with radiation as id any kind of decay or nuclear reaction. HTH Robert Tito

Radiation in generating reducing power for life

Recently I read that radioactive decay has a role in generating hydrogen in the deep layers of the earths rocks and that this hydrogen is an energy source for bacteria at depths in the crust and that even the first life forms may have evolved in these locations. I just flag this for attention. keep up the good work David Tribe 16:27, 17 January 2007 (CST)

Details are as follows: Radiolytic H2 in continental crust: Nuclear power for deep subsurface microbial communities Li-Hung Lin and James Hall Johanna Lippmann-Pipke et al. Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey 08540, USA ( Geophysical Laboratory, Carnegie Institution of Washington, 5251 Broad Branch Road, N.W, Washington, DC 20015, USA

Geochemistry Geophysics Geosystems Published by AGU and the Geochemical Society Volume 6, Number 7 12 July 2005 Q07003, doi:10.1029/2004GC000907 ISSN: 1525-2027

The yield and isotopic composition of radiolytic H2, a potential energy source for the deep subsurface biosphere LI-HUNG LIN,1,*† GREG F. SLATER,2,3 BARBARA SHERWOOD LOLLAR,2 GEORGES LACRAMPE-COULOUME,2 and T. C. ONSTOTT1 Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Vol. 69, No. 4, pp. 893–903, 2005


Note deep bio web page at Princeton with a reference collection 1Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, USA 2Stable Isotope Laboratory, Department of Geology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada 3Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Woods Hole, MA, USA (Received February 12, 2004; accepted in revised form July 29, 2004) Some quoted snippets from tghis paper:

... H2 production through abiotic processes is critical to maintaining an H2-based subsurface lithoautotrophic ecosystem that is independent from surface photosynthesis. H2 constitutes a major component of dissolved inorganic gases (as high as 98% by volume of the total dissolved gases) in the groundwater of Precambrian Shields, and its concentration ranges up to several mM (Haveman and Pedersen, 1999; Sherwood Lollar et al., 1993a; Sherwood Lollar et al., 1993b).

... observed in the studies for marine sediments or shallow aquifers (Hoehler et al., 1998; Lovely and Goodwin, 1988). Radiolysis of water has been proposed as a mechanism for generating these large quantities of H2 (Savary and Pagel, 1997; Vovk, 1982). This hypothesis is supported by the observation that H2-bearing fluid inclusions in quartz are associated with U-bearing minerals (Debussy et al., 1988; Savary and Pagel, 1997).

Cites: Savary V. and Pagel M. (1997) The effects of water radiolysis on local redox conditions in the Oklo, Gabon, natural fission reactors 10 and 16. Geochim. Cosmochim. Acta 61, 4479–4494. Vovk I. F. (1982) Radiolysis of underground waters as the mechanism of geochemical transformation of the energy of radioactive decay in sedimentary rocks. Litho. Mineral. Res. 16, 328–334.

Energy released from the decay of radioactive elements (e.g., U, Th, and K) dissociates water molecules into H●, OH●, H2, H2O2, a hydrous electron (eaq �), and H� (reaction 1 in Table 1). These products are formed within �10�6 s after the primary ionizing event and diffuse into the bulk solution where they react with other aqueous species (see reactions in Table 1). Additional H2 is formed via the subsequent recombination of ...

Related references for context.

Geomicrobiology Journal Issue: Volume 23, Number 6 / September 2006 Pages: 345 - 356 URL: Linking OptionsDOI: 10.1080/01490450600875571 Geomicrobial Processes and Biodiversity in the Deep Terrestrial Subsurface

The Deep Hot Biosphere T Gold, FFRW Dyson - 1998 - ... sulfur or sul- fides such as hydrogen sulfide and ... the earth and that a primordial source of hydrocarbons ... expansion of terrestrial life, then subsurface life on ...

Is H2 the Universal Energy Source for Long-Term Survival? Journal Microbial Ecology Issue Volume 38, Number 4 / November, 1999 DOI 10.1007/s002489901002 Pages 307-320 SpringerLink Date Thursday, February 19, 2004 James K. Fredrickson A1 and David L. Balkwill A2 Keywords: lithoautotrophy, hydrogen, phylogeny, community structure, repository

A hydrogen-based subsurface microbial community dominated by methanogens Francis H. Chapelle*, Kathleen O'Neill², Paul M. Bradley*, Barbara A. Methe², Stacy A. Ciufo², LeRoy L. Knobel³ & Derek R. Lovley²

  • US Geological Survey, Columbia, South Carolina 29210, USA

² Department of Microbiology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003, USA ³ US Geological Survey, Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402, USA

McCollom, T. M. Methanogenesis as a potential source of chemical energy for primary biomass production by autotrophic organisms in hydrothermal systems on Europa. J. Geophys. Res. 104 (E12), 30729±30742 (1999).

McKay, C. P. in Subsurface Microbiology and Biogeochemistry (eds Fredrickson, J. K. & Fletcher, M.) 315±327 (Wiley, New York, 2001).

[5] Applied and Environmental Microbiology, December 2002, p. 6013-6020, Vol. 68, No. 12 0099-2240/02/$04.00+0 DOI: 10.1128/AEM.68.12.6013-6020.2002 Isolation and Characterization of Metal-Reducing Thermoanaerobacter Strains from Deep Subsurface Environments of the Piceance Basin, Colorado Yul Roh, Shi V. Liu,{dagger} Guangshan Li, Heshu Huang, Tommy J. Phelps, and Jizhong Zhou*

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2006 Oct 29;361(1474):1819-34; discussion 1835-6. Early anaerobic metabolisms. Canfield DE, Rosing MT, Bjerrum C. Nordic Centre for Earth Evolution (NordCEE) and Institute of Biology, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, 5230 Odense M, Denmark.

Before the advent of oxygenic photosynthesis, the biosphere was driven by anaerobic metabolisms. We catalogue and quantify the source strengths of the most probable electron donors and electron acceptors that would have been available to fuel early-Earth ecosystems. The most active ecosystems were probably driven by the cycling of H2 and Fe2+ through primary production...

PMID 17008221

Met Ions Biol Syst. 2005;43:9-48. Biogeochemistry of dihydrogen (H2). Hoehler TM.

Hydrogen has had an important and evolving role in Earth's geo- and biogeochemistry, from prebiotic to modern times. On the earliest Earth, abiotic sources of H2 were likely stronger than in the present...

As one of the dominant sources of biological productivity for as much as 2 billion years of Earth's history, these communities have been among the most important agents of long-term global biogeochemical change.

PMID 16370113

David Tribe 22:21, 18 January 2007 (CST)

Article length

Looks as if youll have to move some sections to new subpages as there is a 68 k size warning on the text. David Tribe 22:26, 18 January 2007 (CST)

I have started to do so, I hope that work will carry on on these new smaller articles and we will then have a super group os articles.Mark Rust 08:13, 21 January 2007 (CST)

There is some discussion on the forums that the auto size limit warning might be too conservative and a number like about 40k (from memory) might be still Ok. I only learnt this from the edit crits sent to me yesterday David Tribe 02:41, 22 January 2007 (CST)

A plant breeding radioisope application mentioned in CZ Wheat

[6] Wheat Stomata (or leaf pores) are involved in both uptake of carbon dioxide gas from the atmosphere and water vapor losses from the leaf due to water transpiration. Basic physiological investation of these gas exchange processes has yielded valuable carbon isotope based methods that are used for breeding wheat varieties with improved water-use efficiency. These varieties can improve crop productivity in rain-fed dryland wheat farms.[20] David Tribe 02:41, 22 January 2007 (CST)

The NMR part referring to net nuclear spin (mostly protons) .... needs to be changed. The net spin is determined by the nucleons, not protons alone. Thus, carbon-12 and carbon-14 are not NMR active, while carbon-13 is. In reality, I or someone else needs to write a whole NMR/MRI section one of these days.

remove NMR spin off? and DIAMEX

1) Since nearly every natural substance on earth gives NMR signals, no nuclear chemistry has every been needed to do NMR (by man I mean), so in my opinion it should be removed or barely mentioned in this article. I could see an NMR page referring back to nuclear chemistry regarding production of C13 perhaps.

2) Regarding DIAMEX, it is my understanding that the French still actively use this process because the waste products are so easy to deal with. It perhaps should be moved out of the "old methods" section. David E. Volk 09:19, 12 November 2007 (CST)