Title: Fundamental uncertainty equations for nuclear dating applied to the 140Ba-140La and 227Th-223Ra chronometers
Citation: JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RADIOACTIVITY vol. 162-163 p. 358-370
Publication Year: 2016
JRC N°: JRC100687
ISSN: 0265-931X
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0265931X16302144
DOI: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2016.06.013
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Basic equations for age dating through activity ratio measurements are presented and applied to nuclear chronometers based on parent-daughter decay. Uncertainty propagation formulae are derived which relate the relative uncertainty on the half-lives and measured activity ratios with the relative uncertainty on the calculated time of a nuclear event. Particular attention is paid to the case of relatively short-lived radionuclides for which the change in decay rate during the measurement is non-negligible. Mathematical solutions are presented to correct the perceived activity ratio and adapt the uncertainty propagation formulae to complete the uncertainty budget. The formulae have been applied to 140Ba-140La chronometry, which is particularly useful for dating a nuclear explosion through measurement of the produced activity ratio of 140La and 140Ba in a finite time interval. They were also applied to the 227Th-223Ra parent-daughter pair produced for therapeutic use. The impact of inaccuracies in the nuclear decay data on the performance of these nuclear chronometers is shown and discussed.
JRC Directorate:Nuclear Safety and Security

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