Problem: Write all the balanced nuclear equation for each step of the nuclear decay sequence that starts with U-238 and ends with U-234.Complete the second step. 23490 Th  →  23491 Pa + ?

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FREE Expert Solution

We’re being asked to complete the given partial decay series


23490 Th  23491 Pa + ?


To do so, we need to determine the product that forms during the decay of the initial nuclide.


Recall that in a nuclear reaction, the number of protons and neutrons is affected and the identity of the element changes


The different types of radioactive decay are:

• Alpha decay: forms an alpha particle (42α, atomic mass = 4, atomic number = 2)

• Beta decay: forms a beta particle (0–1β, atomic mass = 0, atomic number = –1). The beta particle appears in the product side.

• Gamma emission: forms a gamma particle (00γ, atomic mass = 0, atomic number = 0)

• Positron emission: forms a positron particle (01e, atomic mass = 0, atomic number = 1)

• Electron capture: the initial nuclide captures an electron (0–1e, atomic mass = 0, atomic number = –1). The electron appears in the reactant side.


The nuclear equation must be balanced with the same total atomic mass and atomic number on both sides.

Step 1: Balance the atomic mass on both sides.

Step 2: Balance the atomic number on both sides.

Step 3: Identify the particle formed.


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Problem Details

Write all the balanced nuclear equation for each step of the nuclear decay sequence that starts with U-238 and ends with U-234.

Complete the second step. 23490 Th  →  23491 Pa + ?

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What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?

Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the Radioactive Decay concept. You can view video lessons to learn Radioactive Decay . Or if you need more Radioactive Decay practice, you can also practice Radioactive Decay practice problems.

What professor is this problem relevant for?

Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Fakhreddine's class at TEXAS.