The Joint Research Centre publishes new knowledge of elements' radioactivity and decay in user-friendly chart

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The Joint Research Centre publishes new knowledge of elements' radioactivity and decay in user-friendly chart

JRC publishes the 11th edition of the Karlsruhe Nuclide Chart, used for more than 60 years in physical sciences such as health physics and radiation protection, nuclear and radiochemistry, astrophysics and more recently in the life and earth sciences.

The 11th edition of the "JRC's Karlsruhe Nuclide Chart" was recently published, in line with the JRC’s particular focus on the education and training of current and future scientists and engineers in the nuclear domain, as demanded by the Euratom Treaty.

How old is the mummy of Ötzi the Iceman, how can a tumour be fought or what is the amount of the natural background radiation in different regions of the Earth?

Reliable nuclear data is required to answer these and similar questions. When searching for this data one will quickly encounter the JRC's Karlsruhe Nuclide Chart, which has been providing the appropriate information for more than 60 years. 

This chart is an extended periodic table of the elements displaying all known atoms of any element and their radioactive data. This latest edition contains new and updated data on 1035 nuclides including 82 new nuclides that were not available in the previous edition from 2018.

In total 4122 nuclides are presented in the chart. An explanatory booklet is available in English, German, French and Spanish.

Since 1958, the Karlsruhe Nuclide Chart is used in physical sciences such as health physics and radiation protection, nuclear and radiochemistry, and astrophysics, and more recently in the life and earth sciences such as biology, medicine, agriculture and geology.  

The understanding of isotopes contributes to powering spacecraft, elaborating sophisticated climate change models, deploying accurate environmental control systems, and applying powerful diagnostic and therapeutic tools for fighting diseases.

The study of isotope properties, synthesis, and decay modes is instrumental for rationalizing phenomena, providing a basis for our understanding of the Universe, and resulted in a plethora of applications with deep societal and economic impact.

The Chart’s considerable didactic value makes it an essential tool in education and training linked to nuclear sciences. It is used in training programmes worldwide and is a valuable complement to existing literature on nuclear science including school textbooks.

Instead of using the simple periodic table of the elements, the nuclide chart presents the nuclear structure and decay properties of all known nuclides, through user-friendly graphical presentation. In addition to half-lives, decay modes, and energies of the emitted radiations, the most recent data on atomic weights, isotopic abundances, cross sections and thermal fission yields are given.

The nuclide chart project started in 1958 in Karlsruhe. As of 2005, the JRC maintains the "Karlsruhe Nuclide Chart". Although other nuclear data sources exist, the JRC Nuclide Chart is unique in providing a comprehensive overview of current knowledge that is easy to use.

For more than 60 years, the Chart has recorded the work of thousand of researchers and hundred thousand of experimental results produced in research institutes throughout the world. With excellence as a rule, it has become through the years a reference in the field of nuclear data.

In this new edition, thermal neutron cross sections data has been updated and the most recent values of the atomic weights, isotopic abundances and cross sections have been included together with the thermal fission yields for both Uranium (235U) and Plutonium (239Pu) isotopes. The Reduced Decay Schemes section in the accompanying booklet describes in detail how the nuclide box contents should be interpreted with reference to the nuclide decay schemes.

Background

The term "nuclide" categorises atoms by the number of protons and neutrons in its nucleus. Nuclide charts offer a full description of the radioactive attributes of an element and its known isotopes, providing a unique overview of current knowledge in nuclear science.


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