National Low-Level Waste Management Program Radionuclide Report Series [electronic resource] : Volume 12, Cobalt-60.
- Washington, D.C. : United States. Dept. of Energy, 1995.
Oak Ridge, Tenn. : Distributed by the Office of Scientific and Technical Information, U.S. Dept. of Energy.
- Physical Description:
- 40 pages : digital, PDF file
- Additional Creators:
- Lockheed Idaho Technologies Company
United States. Department of Energy
United States. Department of Energy. Office of Scientific and Technical Information
- This report outlines the basic radiological and chemical characteristics of cobalt-60 (⁶°Co) and examines how these characteristics affect the behavior of ⁶°Co in various environmental media, such as soils, groundwater, plants, animals, the atmosphere, and the human body. Discussions also include methods of ⁶°Co production, waste types, and waste forms that contain ⁶°Co. All cobalt atoms contain 27 protons (Z = 27) and various numbers of neutrons (typically N = 27 to 37 neutrons) within the atom`s nucleus. There is only one stable isotope of cobalt, namely ⁵⁹Co. All other cobalt isotopes, including ⁶°Co, are radioactive. The radioactive isotopes of cobalt have half-lives ranging from less than a second (⁵⁴Co-0.19 s) to 5.2 years (⁶°Co). The radioactive isotopes of cobalt are not a normal constituent of the natural environment and are generated as a result of human activities. The primary source of ⁶°Co in the environment has been low-level radioactive waste material generated as a result of neutron activation of stable ⁵⁹Co that is present in the structural components of nuclear reactor vessels. This isotope is also intentionally produced, usually in reactors but also to some degree in accelerators for industrial and medical uses, such as for radiation sources for cancer treatment and nondestructive testing of metals and welds. ⁶°Co may enter the environment as a result of the activities associated with nuclear reactor operations and decommissioning and when industrial and medical sources are being used, manufactured, or disposed.
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- Funding Information:
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