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WikiProject Elements / Isotopes  (Rated C-class, Low-importance)
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Merge Discussion[edit]

Suggested to merge the commercially available radioisotopes page with this one. Would make sense to consider merging both with the ionizing radiation page? I'm no expert, but as a lay man, I assume some duplication: certainly between this and the ionizing radiation page --Haruth (talk) 19:24, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

I would like to stress that a radionuclide (radioactive tracer used in nuclear medicine and molecular imaging) is not necessarily a radioisotope. It's like saying that all Christians are Catholic. A radionuclide can be an isotope (same number of protons as the original element, and therefore called by the same name as the original element), or even an isomer. But of what? It is assumed an isotope of its parent. Example: Metastable Technetium ninety-nine is the most common radioactive metal used in diagnostic imaging (nuclear medicine) today. Tc99m is the daughter nuclide of Mo99 through radioactive decay. Both are radioactive, but they are not isotopes of each other. If they were, they would both be called Tc##, and would also, therefore, contain the same number of protons in their nucleus. An example of the proper use of the term "radioactive isotope(s) or "radioisotope", would be when speaking of two isotopes of Iodine: I131 and I123 (also used in diagnostic imaging, and the former used in both diagnostic imaging and radiotherapy). They are both iodine. They both contain the same number of protons, and therefore, ARE isotopes.

Radioisotope, or just radioactive isotope is an old term-- probably because when nuclear medicine, as a study/medical practice, most radoactive tracers WERE in fact ISOTOPES of each other. That is NO longer true of all the radiotracers used today. It has not been true for some time. Some die hard's refuse to give up the misnomer.

Hope this clarifies the situation for many. KR, Nuclear Medicine Technologist 12-23-08

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:36, 24 December 2008 (UTC)

This article fail to mention the environmental problems that the disposal of these causes. It is unbalanced.

  • I agree. To be complete, there are other negatives that need to be mentioned, such as polution, the diseases and mutations that can be produced by exposure, et cetera. -- April
  • This article sounds as though it were taken from a P.R. brochure for the nuclear industry. "saving many lives"? c'mon.

I think a seperate section on the disposal or radioactive materials with a link from radiosiotopes would be better than adding to this entry.

Some balance is needed in the discussion of radioactivity, waste disposal and risk. Most radioisotopes are natural. The medical use of radioactivity does not cause a significant disposal problem. The fear of mutations is not sensible. More radioactive material is released by non-nuclear activity eg. coal burning than nuclear activity. The real concern is of a catastrophic event eg Is it worth mentioning Americium 241 by name in smoke detectors?

Isotopes with half lifes significantly less than the age of the earth are not necessarily rare if they are a decay products of longer lived isotopes.

Is it worth mentioning the different types of radioactive decay that radioactive isotopes can undergo? The entry gives the impression that only gamma radiation is emitted. This is only the case when excited nuclear states decay (eg. Tc99m very important in nuclear medicine).

What's all this whining about? Be bold and improve the article!
Herbee 01:53, 2004 Apr 9 (UTC)

The article could be more specific about which radioisotopes are used in each application, and how exactly. I don't know much about such matters, but surely many Wikipedians do?
Herbee 01:53, 2004 Apr 9 (UTC)

If you think this article has a rather peculiar slant on the subject, check out the article on ionizing radiation. Quite curious. --Martschink 13:18, 1 Jul 2004 (UTC)

radioisotope / radionuclide[edit]

I moved this page and changed the word radioisotope to radionuclide to fix the minor nomenclature oversight. an isotope must be of a specific atom. The statement, 'Which isotope is that?' can only be used when the atom has been established. In contrast, "Which nuclide is that?" can be used when the atom is unknown, i.e. when you find something radioactive and you want to know which radionuclide it is. Pdbailey 17:24, 6 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Good catch. Andrew 04:33, Nov 9, 2004 (UTC)

The article is good the way it is!!

dont change it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:15, 9 December 2007 (UTC)


Shouldn't most of the uses section be moved out to radioactive tracer? I'm not really qualified to say for sure, or else I would do it myself, but that article is certainly lacking much of what is in here. Also the more general article Isotopic tracer seems to be a bit orphaned too. - Taxman Talk 21:03, August 1, 2005 (UTC)

Reference needed to refer to in a report[edit]

<<When radioactive carbon, for example, is in the atmosphere, it rapidly becomes separated from its decay products. Once it is bound up in a solid, such as wood or paper, its decay products must remain in place. So by measuring how much of these decay products has accumulated, one can estimate the time when the carbon was captured into solid form.>>

Please, can you provide a reference for this statement? 00:46, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

There seem to be a few words strangely out of place in this article. The most prominent is "Orgasm". Wtf do radionuclides have to do with orgasm? We must have some strange theoretical physicists out there.....


An article on at the BBC, "A Return to the Orangey World" says that radioisotope antennas may be used to power future lander missions. How? 17:02, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Using radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) technology as the primary heat (1 kW total) and power source for the robotic vehicle. Radioisotope heater unit (RHU) milli-watt power systems (120 mW total) can also be employed to power mini-radiowave ransceivers. Do a web search or put teh question to the wiki help desk for more info. Jclerman 19:04, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

False Reference (?)[edit]

This page gives an external link to:

   Pocket Rad [1] - A source for radioactive isotopes

However, unless I am mistaken this is a unrelated parody website. Can some one confirm this and then remove the spurious link? Thanks.

--Owlcatowl (talk) 16:51, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Another question[edit]

"Radionuclides can also cause malfunction of electrical devices such as the one you are now using."

Hmmm... exactly how do they do this? References? Rb88guy (talk) 03:24, 6 January 2009 (UTC)

How many radionuclides after a nuclear meltdown?[edit]

After the reactor meltdowns in Japan last week, my newspaper has claimed several times that "Some 400 radioactive isotopes can be released in a full-scale nuclear meltdown". Can someone explain what this number is based on? Dirac66 (talk) 13:52, 25 March 2011 (UTC)

nuclide vs. nucleotide[edit]

Why does a search for 'radionucleotide' redirect to this page? That would imply that 'radionucleotide' is the same as 'radionuclide' and that 'nucleotide' is the same as 'nuclide,' neither of which is true. If anything, a search for 'radionucleotide' should redirect to 'nucleotide.' Anyone care to weigh in, correct this? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jdevola (talkcontribs) 17:17, 21 October 2012 (UTC)

I agree that that redirect should not point here. However it should not point to nucleotide either, since that article has nothing on radioisotope-labelled nucleotides. Probably the redirect should just be removed, so that a search for radionucleotide gives no result at all. Dirac66 (talk) 23:31, 21 October 2012 (UTC)
It would probably be best to list the redirect at redirects for discussion. What should be done with the pages that link to "Radionucleotide"? I know absolutely nothing about this subject, so I don't feel comfortable taking any action on the redirect myself. Graham87 01:40, 22 October 2012 (UTC)
I have now looked at the 3 pages that link to Radionucleotide - two are on medical subjects so may be related to nucleotides, but the third on Electrokinetic remediation appears to be an error for radionuclide. Quick Google searches also turn up some papers which seem to be about DNA and some which do not, so I am now confused as to the usual meaning of this tem, and I would like an opinion from someone more familiar with the term. Rather than redirects for discussion, I have decided to ask at Talk:Nucleotide - both about the real meaning of the term and about whether a section on radionucleotides would be useful. Dirac66 (talk) 00:54, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
I think "radionucleotide" should direct to a little stub that says that there is no such word in common use, but it is a common misspelling for radionuclide (this will prevent people from making any other redirects from this non-word, if somebody searches for it). Radiolabeled nucleotides are called just that, no short version. I did read one definition claiming "radionucleotide" as a "radiolabeled nucleotide" but I don't think that's in common use, and wouldn't encourage it. Radionuclide can be misspelled, and you see that very often in descriptions of papers, and I've even found it as a flub in in the titles of several published medical papers, for example: here in a paper which is clearly not about radiolabeled nucleotides, but rather is about a radionuclide scan. The two medical pages above are probably in error. Most pages on google that have "radionucleotide" mean "radionuclide" but where written by some biomed person (as in the hapless doctors above) who'd never heard of nuclides and so misspelled it nucleotide. SBHarris 01:24, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
A misspelling that appears in thousands of books? Dicklyon (talk) 01:53, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
If the first four pages I looked at are any indication, yes! There is about one possibly correct use per page, and the rest (90% or so) are clear mistakes. Methods in Enzymology by Balch describes radiolabeled DNA nucleotides with P-32, and there are two others in the first 4 pages of 40 books I looked at. Perhaps there are some biochemists using it deliberately, but all the medical books have it wrong, which means that most of these are errors. There are no clinical applications (use in patients) that legitimately use the word. Perhaps our dab should say that a few papers on DNA-enzyme chemistry use "radionucleotide" to actually mean a radiolabeled nucleotide (frankly a new use to me, but you learn something new on WP every day), but most of the uses in the science literature, especially medical literature, are misspellings or malapropisms for radionuclide. SBHarris 04:25, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
That sounds more like a dictionary entry than an encyclopedic article to me. Perhaps it should redirect to the Wiktionary entry for this "non-word" (which would also need to be updated) using the {{wi}} template? Graham87 06:11, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
I think a disambiguation page would be the way to go here. The items would be "An incorrect term for a radionuclide" and "A nucleotide labeled with a radioisotope such as 32P". Alternatively, we could place a hatnote on this article saying "Radionucleotide redirects here; for radiolabeled nulceotides, see X". Antony–22 (talkcontribs) 18:43, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
OK, I have gone ahead and changed the redirect to a dab page. Thanks to Jdevola for raising the question, to Sbharris for checking the literature and explaining how this word is used, and to Antony22 for a concise summary which I used almost as is on the dab page. However I put the nucleotide meaning first as that one actually makes sense even if it is not widely used.
And one more note - Wikipedia does have other articles explaining incorrect terms, as there may be readers who look for them. In nuclear physics for example, see the infamous nucular! Dirac66 (talk) 20:28, 25 October 2012 (UTC)
Nice work! Yes, we do have full articles about incorrect terms – e.g. the above-mentioned nucular and irregardless – but only when several reliable sources have commented on their incorrectness. As the term seems to have legitimate uses, a disambiguation page is probably the best way to go. Graham87 02:54, 26 October 2012 (UTC)