Industrial and Medical Radioisotopes

Production of Materials‎ > ‎5. Nuclear Methods‎ > ‎

Identify one use of a named radioisotope:

  • in industry
  • in medicine

Describe the way in which the above named industrial and medical radioisotopes are used and explain their use in terms of their chemical properties

Cobalt-60 Sodium-24
Medicine Industry
Decays to Nickel-60 Magnesium-24
Radiation produced
Beta and gamma Beta and gamma
Neutron bombardment of cobalt-59 Neutron bombardment of sodium
Treatment of cancer

  • produces gamma rays, which can be used to treat cancer by irradiating the affected areas of the body
  • Kills cancer cells along with other cells
Detection of leaks in pipes

  • Can be added to the liquid (water or oil) in a pipe and then be tested for along the pipe
  • No radiation will be detected from inside the pipe
  • If it leaks into the soil surrounding the pipe, it can be detected and the leak located
Suitability of half-life Has a suitable half-life for the process, being long enough to have a reasonable lifetime in the equipment (about 5 years), but short enough to emit a reasonable intensity of radiation Has a half-life of 15 hours, which means that the liquid quickly becomes safe to use again and the environment is quickly decontaminated

Comparison of cobalt-60 and sodium-24 and their uses