Radium vs Tritium

How to build the perfect shield for your measurements? Discuss it here!
Vit Ladanyi
Posts: 13
Joined: 04 Dec 2015, 20:36
Location: Brno, Czech Republic

Re: Radium vs Tritium

Post by Vit Ladanyi » 22 Nov 2016, 08:57

Nicely explained by WillemG!

That is the reason, why drinking too much of heavy water (D2O) could cause serious problems in metabolism. But it does not mean that tritium in the GTLS (Gaseous Tritium Light Source) is dangerous. Tritium should not leak rapidly from GTLS, otherwise these sources can not be authorized for free sale by nuclear safeguards.

On the contrary, old clocks and other devices painted by radioluminescence colors containing radium, could be dangerous due to possibillity of radon leakage from a leaky container...

Brno, Czech Republic

Posts: 20
Joined: 11 Jul 2016, 18:00
Location: Roetgen-Germany

Re: Radium vs Tritium

Post by WillemG » 22 Nov 2016, 19:07

Fact is that biosystems and living organisms have been exposed to cosmic radiation from origin of life on. So the exposition to D (Deuterium) and T (Tritium) is a part of life and many mutations, not always bad, are the consequences.
Most uptake of T is in the form of HTO (formed by cosmic radiation in the higher atmosphere and raining down) which can take part of metabolism in the same way as H2O does, although with the considerations I mentioned before (isotope effects influencing chemical kinetics and chemical equilibrium in body tissues).
There is a preference for binding of THO in hydration shells of DNA.
The beta emission of T can harm surrounding cells by short-range (a few micrometer) exchange of energy, although relatively low (18.6 keV), when compared to other isotopes. This all is dependent by the way the energy is (partially) absorbed, resulting in chemical bond breakage by excited chemical states and/or levelling down via excited vibrational levels. Most of the radiation energy is absorbed via hydrated shells of surrounding cell tissues, giving rise to formation of radicals, H2O. or .OH and further oxidation processes.
In fact, the radiation energy must at first be (totally or partially) absorbed, before further radiation effects (e.g. fluorescence) or (photon)chemical reactions can take place. The absorption energy must exactly fit within the difference in energy levels (including the vibrational levels) of the chemical states.
See the analogy of e.g. absorption of UV by the human skin (although much lower E there).
Furthermore, living organisms have many ways of repairing DNA and cell damage by radiation or chemical influence. Only when damage is too severe (cyclic DNA), or dosage is too high, then radiation effects are irreversible and consequently cell death occurs and/or carcinogenic cells will develop, due to heavy mutations.
As in many systems, the dosage level is the critical parameter.


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