Problem: 239Pu is a nuclear waste byproduct with a half-life of 24,000 y. What fraction of the 239Pu present today will be present in 1000 y?

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Recall that radioactive/nuclear decay of isotopes follows first-order kinetics, and the integrated rate law for first-order reactions is:


ln[N]t=-kt+ln[N]0



Step 1Find decay constant (k):

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239Pu is a nuclear waste byproduct with a half-life of 24,000 y. What fraction of the 239Pu present today will be present in 1000 y?