Exercises Nucleonica Overview

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Level: Beginner, Intermediate


Nucleonica Welcome Page

Access to the Nucleonica Wiki (without logon)

Exercise 1 - Access to the Nucleonica Wiki (without logon)

Using the Nucleonica Wiki, find out how to access the documentation on the Universal Nuclide Chart application.


The Nucleonica documentation can be found in the Nucleonica Wiki. Some documents can be opened without logging in to Nucleonica.

- Go to the web page: www.nucleonica.com

- In the navigation menu on the left hand side of the page select: Nucleonica [wiki]

- Select the Universal Nuclide Chart page for documentation on this application.

The Universal Nuclide Chart

Exercise 2 - Using the Universal Nuclide Chart (without logon)

Using the Universal Nuclide Chart on the first page of Nucleonica:

A) Find out the two most important gamma lines from Co-60 and

B) Display the decay chain of U-238


The Universal Nuclide Chart application in Nucleonica can be used without registration.


- On the Welcome Page, in the navigation menu on the left hand side, select: Educational Resources

- Select Universal Nuclide Chart

- Press the button Universal Nuclide Chart

- Select Nuclide: Co-60

- Press Start, move the mouse pointer into the Co-60 "box"

- The two most important gamma lines are: at 1332 keV with emission probability (EP) 0.99 and at 1173 keV with EP = 0.99


- Select nuclide: U-238; press Start

- Press Decay Chain button

Nucleonica Logon

The User Profile

Exercise 3 - Personal Profile in Nucleonica

Logon to Nucleonica and using the Networking tools activate your profile!


- On the Welcome Page type your username and password. Following login, you will be directed to the Networking page

- Select My Profile

- Select the tab: Edit

- Type your name, location, organization and e-mail

- Check the boxes

Nuclide Datasheets

Nuclide Datasheets

Exercise 4 - Basic nuclear data

Using the Nuclide Datasheet find the following data for the nuclide Co-60:

A) The density, the half-life

B) The half-life in seconds, the specific activity

C) The third most probably gamma emission energy


The application Nuclear Datasheets provides the users with basic nuclide data for the selected nuclide.


- Select the Data drop-down menu (in the taskbar) select: Nuclide Datasheets

- Select Element: Co: Mass: 60

=> Density = 8.86 g/cm3; Half-life = 5.271 year


- Select the tab: Derived Data

=> The half-life in seconds = 1.6634E+08 s; the specific activity = 4.19E+13 Bq/g


- Select the tab: Radiation

- Select: Nucleonica, check the box: Gamma Rays

- Press: Update

=> The third gamma ray energy level is: 826.1 keV with an emission probability = 7.6e-05

Nuclear Data Retrieval

Nuclear Data Retrieval

Exercise 5 - Different searches in Nucleonica databases

The nuclide Co-60 emits a gamma ray at the energy level 1332 keV with probability nearly 1. Using the Nuclear Data Retrieval find some other nuclides that are emitting gamma rays near this energy (i.e. between 1229 and 1235 keV) with an emission probability higher than 10%.


- Select the menu Data, then Nuclear Data Retrieval

- Select the tab Radiation Search

- Check the radio button "Gamma and X-rays"

- enter the values: Energy: 1332 +/-3

- Press: Search

- Click on the column Emission Probability to sort the list

=> The Cu-60 has an emission energy at 1332.5 keV with EP=0.88 and Te-133 on 1333.21 with EP=0.107

Nuclide Explorer

Nuclide data in Nuclide Explorer

Exercise 6 - Exploring nuclide data

The nuclide F-18 is often used as a marker in nuclear medicine to show the dynamical metabolic processes inside the body. Please find in Nuclide Explorer:

A) Its decay mode and its half-life

B) Its daughters

C) In which year Moisson isolated the element Fluorine?



- Start the Nuclide Explorer from the Data drop-down menu

- Select Element: F, Mass 18

=> The decay mode is ec/ß+ - electron capture/positron emission, its half-life is 1.83 h. To convert it to minutes, use the scientific calculator in Nucleonica and type 60*1.83 = 109.8 min.


=> Right click on the F-18 nuclide box and select Highlight daughters. F-18 decays to O-18 which is stable with an abundance of 0.00205%.


Some documents containing elements information can be found in the Nucleonica Wiki. There is some information on the element fluorine.

- Right click on the F-18 nuclide box. Select Element Information.

=>A page from the Nucleonica opens Wiki with information on fluorine. In the third line you can find the element was isolated in the year 1886.

Decay modes in Nuclide Explorer

Exercise 7 - Decay modes

How many nuclides have alpha mode as main decay mode? Find that in Nuclide Explorer!


- In the group View select Whole chart button

- Press button None

- Kick the check box alpha

- You will see that 507 nuclides from 3896 have alpha mode as main decay mode

Mass Activity Calculator

Specific activity in Mass Activity Calculator

Exercise 8 - Calculation of specific activity

Using the Mass Activity Calculator for the specific activity of C-14.


- Start the Mass Activity Calculator, menu: Application, Mass Activity Calculator

- Select Element: C, Mass: 14, Quantity: 1, Unit: Mass (g) press Convert

- The second line shows the instantaneous activity of 1g C-14

Number of atoms in Mass Activity Calculator

Exercise 9 - Calculation of number of atoms

6 g of carbon from a piece of wood found in an ancient temple is analyzed and found to have an activity of 10 transformations per minute per gram (from C-14). How many atoms of C-14 are present in the sample and what is their mass?


- Start the Mass Activity Calculator, menu: Application, Mass Activity Calculator

- Select Element: C, Mass: 14, Unit is Bq (number of transformations per second)

- 1 g of carbon has 10 transf./min, hence 6 g of carbon has 60 transf./min or 1 transf./s i.e. 1 Bq

- Select Unit: Activity (Bq) and Type: Quantity: 1, press Convert

- In the fourth line the number of atoms is 2.595e+11 which has a mass of 6.0e-12 g

Calculation of activity Mass Activity Calculator

Exercise 10 - Calculation of activity

The concentration of potassium (K) in humans is about 1.7 g/kg. What is the mass and activity of K-40 in person weighing 80 kg?


Person with 80 kg has 80 kg * 1.7 g = 136 g K in the body

mass of K = 136 g

atomic weight of K = 39.0983

(see periodic table in Nucleonica or Karlsruhe Nuclide Chart)

numbers of moles of K = (136/39.0983)

the abundance of K-40 is shown on the icon of K-40, it is 0.0117 % atom, so

number of moles of K-40 = [(136/39.0983)*0.000117]

mass of K-40 = number of moles K-40 * 39.963998 = 16.26 mg

(where atomic mass of K-40 = 39.963998, see Nucleonica Datasheets)

Note: if we had just multiplied the mass 136g by the abundance, we obtain 
136 g * 0.000117 = 0.0159 g = 15.9 mg K-40
This is over 2% smaller than the correct value of 16.26 mg calculated above.

- In the Mass Activity Calculator select the unit: Mass (g)

- Type Quantity: 0.01626, press Convert

- In the second line you can see the result 4.25 kBq

Calculation of mass in Mass Activity Calculator

Exercise 11 - Extraction of Ra-226 from uranium ore

How much uranium ore did Marie Curie require to extract 1g of radium 226. Take the ideal case that the ore had only one uranium isotope U-238.


- Go to the Mass Activity calculator.

- Look for half-life of Ra-226 and U-238. The TU-238 >> TRa-226.

- We know that they are in secular equilibrium, i.e. the number of disintegrations per second of U-238 atoms is equal to number of disintegrations per second of Ra-226.

- The activity of Ra-226 should be the same as the activity of U-238.

- Look for the activity of 1g Ra-226: Element: Ra, Mass: 226, Unit: Mass (g), Quantity: 1. The activity is = 3.658e+10 Bq

- Look for the mass of U-238 when the activity is same: Element: U-238, Mass: 238, Unit: Activity (Bq), Quantity: 3.658e+10

- The necessary mass of U-238 is 2.941e+6 g = 2941 kg.

In reality, it was much more because the ore contained additional nuclides.

Decay Engine

Decay Engine

Exercise 12 - Estimate the time of decay

What is the time required for the activity of Na-24 to diminish to 1% of its initial value.


- Start the Decay Engine. Menu: Applications; Decay Engine.

- Select: Element: Na; Mass: 24

- Take 100g, leave the time as default (it is 10 time the half-life of nuclide)

- Press the button Start

- You will get about 0,0098g, but we are looking the result of 1g Na-24.

- Take Days: 3, the calculation gives about 3.6g. Try with 4 days, it gives: 1.17g. It needs a little bit more time.

- Try with 4.2 days. Is to much, than 4.1 days...after some iteration you will get: 4.13 days.

C-14 dating with Decay Engine

Exercise 13 - The C-14 Dating

Carbon-14 is produced at almost a constant rate in the atmosphere by interaction of cosmic rays with nitrogen. Following production the carbon atoms are oxidised to form 14CO2 which then follows the CO2 cycle. Following the death of an organism, the CO2 is terminated and the C-14 but decays. Since the initial activity is known and the present valued of C-14 in the organism can be measured, the age can be determined. If the steady state ratio of C-14/C-12 in some live organism is 2e-12 and in a sample from a mummy is measured a concentration of 1.2e-12, how old is the mummy?


- The question is how much time is necessary that due to decay from 2 unit of C-14 remain 1.2 unit of C-14.

- Open the Decay Engine. Menu: Applications; Decay Engine.

- Select: Element: C; Mass: 14

- Take 2g, leave the time as default (it is 10 time the half-life of nuclide)

- Press the button Start. It shows that the end of this period it remains only 0.002g of C-14.

- Define the period to one time the half-life of C-14: 5.7e3 years. It remains than about 1g of C-14

- Take a period of 4000 years 4e3, press Start: than remains 1.23g...take 4200 years as a solution.

Dosimetry and Shielding

Calculating the dose rate with application Dosimetry and Shielding

Exercise 14 - Calculate the dose rate

Calculate the approximate dose rate at the distance of 2m from 240MBq C-60 source.


- Start the Dosimetry and Shielding module. Menu: Applications; Dosimetry and Shielding.

- Select: Element: Co; Mass: 60

- Select Source strength: Activity (Bq), 240e6

- Select shielding material: Air, 200cm

- Type distance 200cm, press Start

- The result is 20.2 μSv/h

Shield thickness with Dosimetry and Shielding

Exercise 15 - Calculate the shielding

The dose rate at 1 m from a C-60 source is 160 μSv/h. How much lead shielding must be used reduce the dose rate to 10 μSv/h.


- Start the Dosimetry and Shielding module. Menu: Applications; Dosimetry and Shielding.

- Select: Element: Co; Mass: 60

- First the source strength should be calculated: Select tab Options; Select radio button Source strength

- Select the tab Dosimetry and Shielding, select Shielding material: Air; 100 cm

- Type distance: 100 cm, press Start

- The source strength is 475 MBq

- Select tab options, select radio button Shield thickness, go back to Dosimetry and shielding tab

- Select Shielding material: Pb, type Dose rate (μSv/h): 10, press Start

- The result is 5.86 cm

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