Glossary

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Click on the alphabetic index to display terms beginning with the corresponding letter or search for a term below.

Radiation

The emission and propagation of energy by means of electromagnetic waves or particles.

Radioactivity

The spontaneous decay of an unstable atomic nucleus, giving rise to the emission of radiation.

Radionuclide

A radioactive isotope of an element.

Radiotoxicity

The adverse health effect of a radionuclide due to its radioactivity.

Radium

A radioactive decay product of uranium often found in uranium ore. It has several radioactive isotopes. Radium-226 decays to radon-222.

Radon (Rn)

A heavy radioactive gas given off by rocks containing radium (or thorium). Rn-222 is the main isotope, from decay of radium-226.

Radon daughters

Short-lived decay products of radon-222 (Po-218, Pb-214, Bi-214, Po-214).

Reactor pressure vessel

The main steel vessel of a nuclear reactor containing the reactor fuel, moderator and coolant under pressure.

Repository

A permanent disposal place for radioactive wastes.

Reprocessing

Chemical treatment of used reactor fuel to separate uranium and plutonium and possibly transuranic elements from the small quantity of fission products, leaving a much reduced quantity of high-level waste.  (cf Waste, HLW).

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