Activation product

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Activation products are materials made radioactive by neutron activation.

Fission products and actinides produced by neutron absorption of nuclear fuel itself are normally referred to by those specific names, and activation product reserved for products of neutron capture by other materials, such as structural components of the nuclear reactor or nuclear bomb, the reactor coolant, control rods or other neutron poisons, or materials in the environment. All of these, however, need to be handled as radioactive waste. Some nuclides originate in more than one way, as activation products or fission products.

Activation products in a reactor's primary coolant loop are a main reason why reactors use a chain of two or even three coolant loops linked by heat exchangers.

Fusion reactors will not produce radioactive waste from the fusion product nuclei themselves, which are normally just helium-4, but generate high neutron fluxes, so activation products are a particular concern.

Activation product radionuclides include:

Nuclide See also Halflife
(years)
Parent
Tritium 12.3 Lithium-6,7
Boron-10
Deuterium
Beryllium-10 1,530,000 Boron-10
Carbon-14 5,730 Nitrogen-14
Carbon-13
Sodium-24 Fast breeder 0.0017 Sodium-23
Sulfur-35 0.24 Chlorine-35 1% branch
Chlorine-36 301,000 Chlorine-35
Argon-39 269 Argon-38
Iron-55 2.73 Iron-54
Nickel-59 76,000 Nickel-58
Cobalt-60 5.27 Cobalt-59
Nickel-63 100 Nickel-62
Molybdenum-93 4,000 Molybdenum-92
Niobium-93m 16
Niobium-94 20,300 Niobium-93
Technetium-99 LLFP 211,000 Molybdenum-98
Silver-108m 418 Silver-107
Cadmium-113m 13 Cadmium-112
Tin-121m [1] 56 Tin-120
Lead-205 Q=51 keV 15,300,000 Lead-204
Polonium-210 LBE 0.379 Bismuth-209

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