Not a MyNAP member yet? Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. There is a distinguished history of discoveries, achievements, and societal impact for nuclear and radiochemistry defined in Box In Glenn Seaborg received his Ph. A significant development in medicine was the use of radioisotopes as tracers to study chemical processes by George de Hevesy, for which he received the Nobel Prize in chemistry in Nobelprize. In Seaborg jointly earned the Nobel Prize in chemistry with Edwin McMillan for discovery of the transuranium elements and elucidation of their chemistry Nobelprize.
By the s, radioactivity and radioactive elements were being applied in many fields such as medicine, energy, defense, and environmental monitoring. The Atomic Energy Act signed into law in established the national laboratories, many on university campuses across the United States. As a result, the field of nuclear and radiochemistry developed from the study of the fundamental physical and chemical properties of radioactivity, which had mainly been applied in national defense, to applications in a range of areas, including cancer treatment, electricity production, and study of the impacts of large-scale events such as the use of nuclear weapons at the end of World War II.
The field of nuclear and radiochemistry has changed significantly since the mids, due to both positive and negative circumstances.
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For this report, the committee drew on two seminal textbooks for definitions of the discipline. The first, Nuclear Chemistry: Theory and Applications Choppin and Rydberg , page vii , defines nuclear chemistry as follows:. The basic aspects include among others i nuclear reactions and energy levels, ii the types and energetics of radioactive decay, iii the formation and properties of radioactive elements, iv the effect of individual isotopes on chemical and physical properties, and v the effects of nuclear radiation on matter.
Research in i and ii is often indistinguishable in purpose and practice from that in nuclear physics, although for nuclear chemists chemical techniques may play a significant role. Applied aspects of nuclear chemistry involve production of radioactive isotopes, radiation processing, radiation conservation of foods, etc. Radiation health aspects and techniques for remote control are other important fields.
Knowledge in nuclear chemistry is an essential tool for research, development, and control in many areas of chemistry and technology tracer methods, activation analysis, control gauges in industry, etc. The second book, Nuclear and Radiochemistry Friedlander et al. In adopting the present title of the book in we gave explicit recognition to a dichotomy in the field and in the audience addressed; a dichotomy that has probably become even more pronounced since then. The book is written as an introductory text for two broad groups: nuclear chemists, that is, scientists with chemical background and chemical orientation whose prime interest is the study of nuclear properties and nuclear reactions; and radiochemists, that is, chemists concerned with the.
In addition, concerns about nuclear safety and security due to atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons and reactor accidents at Three Mile Island in and Chernobyl in , as well as the attraction of new areas such as materials and nanoscience, have resulted in declining interest in nuclear and radiochemistry. Despite the apparently growing division between these two audiences, individuals have always moved fairly freely from one field to the other, and we continue to feel that nuclear chemistry and radiochemistry interact strongly with each other and indeed are so interdependent that their discussion together is almost necessary in an introductory text.
As a research area or academic discipline, nuclear and radiochemistry is considered a subarea of chemistry. Nuclear and radiochemists are chemists who hold one or more degrees in chemistry and have taken additional specialized courses and conducted laboratory work in nuclear and radiochemistry. For the purposes of this report, the committee defines individuals employed as nuclear and radiochemists as those who work on projects that apply the principles and theory of nuclear and radiochemistry in basic research and in applications including nuclear energy, medicine, weapons, and waste disposal.
At the same time, there has been a generally positive interest in applications of nuclear and radiochemistry. For example, another outcome of the Atomic Energy Act of was the creation of the discipline of nuclear medicine in the use of radioisotopes to label molecules for research and development of radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic imaging most notably positron emission tomography and therapy. As a result, the estimated number of radiological and nuclear medicine procedures performed in the United States to diagnose diseases such as cancer and heart disease grew.
Furthermore, despite the fact that nuclear power often receives negative press coverage and no new U. In a March poll, 57 percent of Americans said they favor using nuclear power as a source of electricity even in the wake of the earthquake in Japan and its impacts on the Fukushima Daiichi power plant Jones Since the s, reports have raised concerns about the state of the expertise pipeline in nuclear and radiochemistry skills, especially at the Ph.
A steadily declining number of academic staff has resulted in a decrease in the number of both qualified U. One of the first initiatives to attract and retain undergraduate student interest in the field of nuclear and radiochemistry a direct result of the ACS Committee on Training of Nuclear and Radiochemists recommendations that still exists today is the Nuclear Chemistry Summer Schools program, supported by the U.
Department of Energy DOE.
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Increase the coverage of nuclear and radiochemical concepts and techniques in undergraduate courses to provide chemists with a basic understanding of the field and its applications to science and technology. Establish Young Investigator Awards for tenure-track faculty at universities, with at least five such awards to be given, each for a 5-year period.
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Support for the training centers should come in part from the industries and enterprises that depend on the trained personnel. Establish a second summer school in nuclear chemistry for undergraduates at an eastern U. In particular, identify a specific program at NSF to receive proposals in the field of nuclear and radiochemistry. Requirements include coursework for students in the core areas of chemistry defined as analytical, bio-, inorganic, organic, and physical.
Although nuclear chemistry is the fundamental basis of chemistry, it is not specified in the ACS certified degree requirements. For more information, see www.
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More broadly, there has been concern about the supply of nuclear science and engineering expertise in general NRC Because nuclear chemistry accounts for a relatively small portion of nuclear science and engineering degrees Figure it is more vulnerable to declines in the numbers of degree holders. In fact, by the number of nuclear chemistry Ph. Nuclear and radiochemistry needs cannot simply be filled by transfers from the larger groups of engineering and physics degree holders.
Much of the chemistry involved in separating actinides, preparing reagents for nuclear medicine, and removing radioactive materials from the environment requires knowledge of synthetic, analytical, and other aspects of chemistry, informa-.
Furthermore, degrees in nuclear and radiochemistry are only a very small part of overall numbers in the field of chemistry doctorates shown in Table , and, as with engineering and physics degree holders, expertise in this area cannot simply be filled in by the larger number of degree holders in chemistry, because most chemistry courses and laboratory work do not typically include the specialized knowledge in nuclear reactions and decay modes, chemical reactions and chemical properties of radioactive elements and isotopes, or radiolytic processes caused by ionizing radiation produced by nuclear processes.
Production: Increase the number of new Ph. Graduates who indicated this field in are represented in the counts for Chemistry, other. Diversity and Professional Development: Enhance participation of women and people of underrepresented backgrounds. Since , new efforts have been launched to increase the number of students in nuclear science and engineering in general. NEUP is aimed mainly at nuclear engineering, but awards are open to students in nuclear-related fields, which include radiochemistry, health physics, nuclear physics, and other fields of engineering.
These recent efforts, together with programs begun in the s, appear to be having a positive effect in bolstering the current and future availability of expertise, as will be discussed later in the report.
However, many questions remain and need to be addressed, and will be the focus of this report as outlined below. Chapter 2. Chapter 3. Chapter 4. Chapter 5. Chapter 6. Chapter 7. Chapter 9. Chapters 1 , 2 , 3 , 8 , and 9 look at nuclear and radiochemistry expertise more broadly than Chapters 4 through 7 , which provide more detailed assessments of specific nuclear and radiochemistry application areas.
This report answers these questions by building on past efforts to assess needs in nuclear and radiochemistry and nuclear science and engineering more broadly, and by providing new insights on the unique needs and trends for nuclear and radiochemistry. To accomplish its task, the committee collected new information from guest speakers Appendix C , databases, websites, and other published information sources to determine current and likely future supplies of nuclear and radiochemistry experts. Based on analysis of the resulting information, the committee formulated steps to be taken now and in the future to ensure a sustainable supply of U.
The committee found the objectives outlined in the statement of task difficult to meet for a number of reasons that are highlighted in this chapter and throughout the report. The members therefore had to seek alternate sources of information and extrapolate from limited data to understand employment. Employment classification : Because nuclear and radiochemists are not classified by the SOC, the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not track employment or make projections in these areas.
They are treated as a part of the broader occupation of chemists, nuclear technicians, nuclear medicine technologists, or nuclear power plant operators. Licenses or certifications : There are no licenses or certifications required for nuclear and radiochemists, and ACS accreditation of chemistry departments does not have any specific provisions for nuclear chemistry content.
As a result, the occupation is defined differently in different sectors and application areas. For the most part, nuclear and radiochemists are self-identified. Argonne National Laboratory. Nuclear Engineers Occupational Employment and Wages [online]. Available: www.