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Sodium-24 Analysis Essay

1 & 2.

Sodium-24 is an isotope used in medicine and the mining industry, as it is a gamma emitter. It is used for studies of electrolytes within the body, and also to locate leaks in industrial pipelines and oil well studies.


Half-life of Sodium-24 is 14.96 hours, and it takes a further 149.6 hours or 6.23 days to become ‘safe,’ as 10 half-lives is what is required for an unstable isotope to become ‘safe’


Sodium-24 is used to measure extracellular fluid by indicator dilution and also is used to locate leaks in industrial pipelines and oil well studies. It is injected into pipelines and oil wells, and then measured with scanners and radiation detectors for leaks, so that they can be fixed to prevent stock loss or some sort of disaster from a leak, for example a landslide, and to improve flow, and therefore profit too.


Sodium-24 is an artificially made isotope. It is made at the Lucas Heights reactor, near Sydney, Australia, as well as at other reactors across the world. It is made by the neutron absorption method, where a stable isotope is placed in a nuclear reactor and bombarded with neutrons, until one is absorbed into the nucleus, creating an unstable isotope.

6. There are four main hazards when using sodium-24 –

Ionisation ability – is low because ionisation occurs when the decayed particles collide with an atom, knocking out an electron, making it positive. Because sodium-24 is a gamma emitter, the chance of a particle hitting an atom is small, because the particles that are decaying are so small.

Penetration ability – Sodium-24 particles are so small they can penetrate through any substance.

Half-life – Sodium-24 has a half life of 14.96 hours, and it takes 10 half-lives for an unstable isotope to become ‘safe’ so the time it takes for sodium-24 to become safe is 149.6 hours, or 6.23 days.

Dose- is the amount of radiation a person is subject to. A dose great than 1Sv would be enough to cause sickness/

7. Steps and precautions taken to prevent a radiation decay disaster are –

· Wearing gloves when handling, and using appropriate tools to handle it, depending on the application.

· All packaging and items that come into contact with the radiation are disposed of in a special process, depending on the situation.

· The area that is being treated or tested for leaks etc is isolated and shut down from workers.

· The people scanning and injecting the sodium-24 wear lead aprons to prevent contact.

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