[ RadSafe ] Ancient background radiation

Harry Reynolds hreynolds at energysolutions.com
Fri Aug 26 10:37:48 CDT 2011

If you look at it theoretically, nearly all the TRU isotopes fit into one of the four series.  Pu-240 and U-236 are 4n (Th-232).  The entire 4n+1 series is too short lived to still be around.  Pu-239 is the parent of U-235 in the 4n+3 series, etc. etc.

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Kulp, Jeffrey B
Sent: Friday, August 26, 2011 9:19 AM
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Ancient background radiation

Hello Radsafers,

I once read that background radiation from terrestrial sources was estimated to be approximately an order of magnitude greater than its current level; due to relatively short lived transuranics that decayed to U and Th. I have tried to find references to this; I have been unsuccessful. Has anyone else heard or read this, and can you point me in the direction of documents or a website that contains the information?


Jeff Kulp
Washington State University
Radiation Safety Office
Pullman, WA 99164-1302
(509) 335-8175

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