Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry

, Volume 109, Issue 1, pp 183–200 | Cite as

Half-life of plutonium-241: Past and present

  • S. K. Aggarwal
  • H. C. Jain


Half-life of241Pu is of great importance in nuclear technology. In view of large variation in the values (13–15 y) reported till 1974 in literature, efforts have been made in different laboratories to determine this half-life with high precision and accuracy. In our laboratory, it has been determined by different methods which may be classified in two categories, viz. (1) parent decay method, and (2) daughter growth method. In the parent decay method, change in isotope ratios241Pu/239Pu,241Pu/240Pu and241Pu/242Pu was studied periodically by a thermal ionization mass spectrometer. Single as well as double ratio method was used to calculate the half-life. In the daughter growth method, the half-life was obtained in four independent ways. These were (1) alpha spectrometry taking239Pu and242Pu separately as reference isotopes and studying periodically the increase in alpha activity ratio, (2) alpha proportional counting for observing periodically the change in total alpha activity, (3) isotope dilution alpha spectrometry using243Am as a spike, (4) isotope dilution mass spectrometry using243Am as a spike. In all these methods, synthetic mixtures were prepared for achieving high precision and accuracy in different measurements. Based on the results obtained in this laboratory and the values reported by other laboratories, a half-life value of 14.4±0.1 y is recommended. The paper reviews the past history, puts forth the present status, highlights the current trends for studying the effect of chemical composition of plutonium on the half-life of241Pu and presents the future requirements for achieving higher accuracy in the half-life of241Pu.


Plutonium Isotope Dilution Proportional Counting Alpha Activity Thermal Ionization 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. K. Aggarwal
    • 1
  • H. C. Jain
    • 1
  1. 1.Fuel Chemistry DivisionBhabha Atomic Research CentreBombayIndia)

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