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β
A symbol for beta particle.

β-
A symbol for beta particle.

β+
A symbol for positron.

β- decay
Decay by emission of a β- particle.

Synonym: beta decay
Synonym: negatron decay
Related to β- particle.
Related to positron decay.


β- particle
The electron emitted by a nucleus during beta decay.

Synonym: decay electron
Synonym: disintegration electron
Related to alpha particle.
Related to beta decay.
Related to beta particle.
Related to gamma ray.
Related to positron.


b
A symbol for barn.
A symbol for impact parameter.


B
A symbol for boron.

Ba
A symbol for barium.

background
A synonym for background radiation.

background count
(1) An event recorded by a radiation detection system that is due to background radiation.

(2) A measurement performed to estimate the intensity of background radiation observable by a radiation detection system. Background counts are usually performed to remove the contribution of background radiation from a second measurement.

Synonym: accident count.
Synonym: accidental count.


background radiation
(1) (general) Radiation that interferes with measurements. Cosmic rays and radioactivity in soil, water and air are forms of ambient radiation that often interferes with low count rate measurements. Other forms of background radiation include sources of radiation observable by the detector, contamination of samples, incomplete absorption of radiation in the detector or incomplete charge collection by the detector.

(2) (10CFR20) Ambient radiation. Radiation from cosmic sources; naturally occurring radioactive materials, including radon (except as a decay product of source material or special nuclear material); and global fallout as it exists in the environment from the testing of nuclear explosive devices. Background radiation does not include radiation from source material, by-product material, or special nuclear materials regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
barium
A chemical element with atomic number 56. Barium was discovered in 1808 by Sir Humphry Davy. The name barium is derived from barys, Greek for heavy.

Symbol: Ba.
Synonym: hesperium.
Related to alkaline earth metals.


barn
Unit of reaction probability defined as 10-28 m2 (10-24 cm2).

Symbol: b.
Related to cross section.
Related to outhouse.
Related to shed.


Be
A symbol for beryllium.

BE
Acronym for binding energy.

becquerel
The SI standard unit of radioactivity defined as 1.0 disintegrations per second.

Symbol: Bq.
Related to curie.
Related to microcurie.
Related to millicurie.
Related to megacurie.
Related to nanocurie.
Related to picocurie.


berkelium
A chemical element with atomic number 97. Berkelium was discovered in 1949, by Glenn Seaborg and colleagues, when 241Am was irradiated with alpha particles to produce 243Bk. The name berkelium is derived from University of California at Berkeley, its place of discovery.

Symbol: Bk.
Related to actinides.


beryllium
A chemical element with atomic number 4. Beryllium was discovered as the oxide in 1798 by Louis-Nicolas Vauquelin, and was first isolated by Wöhler in 1828. The name beryllium is derived from the Greek word beryl.

Symbol: Be.
Synonym: glucinium.
Related to alkaline earth metals.


beta
A synonym for beta particle.

beta decay
Decay by emission of a beta particle. Three types of beta decay are common in nuclei: Neutron rich nuclei tend to decay by emitting a β- particle. An antineutrino is also emitted in this type of b decay and the it results in the nucleus converting a neutron into a proton. Neutron deficient nuclei tend to decay by positron emission or electron capture. Positron emission refers to the emission of a positron (β+), which is the antiparticle of the electron. A neutrino is emitted in the process and this results in the nucleus converting a proton into a neutron. Electron capture is usually classified as a type of beta decay and involves an orbital electron being absorbed by a nucleus, effectively converting a proton into a neutron.

Synonym: β decay
Synonym: beta change
Synonym: beta disintegration
Synonym: beta emission
Synonym: beta particle decay
Synonym: beta transformation
Related to alpha decay.
Related to β- decay.
Related to beta particle.
Related to double beta decay.
Related to dual beta decay.
Related to positron decay.
Related to spontaneous fission.


beta-delayed neutron
A neutron that has been emitted by an excited state of a nucleus immediately following beta decay. The emission occurs when the decay leaves the daughter nucleus in an excited state that is above the neutron separation energy. Delayed neutrons account for approximately 0.75% of the neutron output from fission and this is an important aspect of controlling the increase in energy output of reactors.

Related to delayed fission neutron.
Related to fission neutron.
Related to prompt fission neutron.


beta particle
The electron or positron (the antiparticle of the electron) emitted by a nucleus during beta decay. The name beta was coined by Rutherford in 1897.

Reference: E. Rutherford. Phil. Mag. 47, 109 (1897).
Symbol: β.
Symbol: β-.
Symbol: β+.
Synonym: beta.
Synonym: beta radiation.
Synonym: beta ray.
Synonym: decay electron.
Synonym: disintegration electron.
Related to alpha particle.
Related to beta decay.
Related to gamma ray.
Related to positron.


beta radiation
A synonym for beta particle.

beta ray
A synonym for beta particle.

Bi
A symbol for bismuth.

binding energy
The energy that would be released if a nuclide were formed by combining an appropriate number of hydrogen atoms and neutrons. For the nuclide 40K, it is the energy that would be released by combining 19 hydrogen atoms and 21 neutrons.

Acronym: BE.
Synonym: heat of formation.
Synonym: nuclear binding energy.
Synonym: nuclear heat of formation.
Related to ionization potential.
Related to neutron separation energy.
Related to proton separation energy.
Related to separation energy.


bioassay
The determination of kinds, quantities or concentrations, and, in some cases, the locations of radioactive material in the human body, whether by direct measurement (in vivo counting) or by analysis and evaluation of materials excreted or removed from the human body.

Synonym: radiobioassay.

biological half-life
The time required for the concentration of a particular substance in a biological system to be reduced by one half. A biological half-life includes only normal processes for eliminating substances, thereby excluding radioactive decay.

Synonym: biologic half-life.
Related to effective half-life.
Related to half-life.


biological shield
A radiation shield placed around a reactor or other radiation-producing device to reduce dose rates to safe levels.

biologic effectiveness of radiation
An synonym for relative biological effectiveness.
Reference: DOE G 421.1-1.

biologic half-life
A synonym for biological half-life.

bismuth
A chemical element with atomic number 83. Bismuth was discovered in 1753 by Claude Geoffrey when he distinguished it from lead and tin. The name bismuth is derived from weisse masse, German for white mass.

Symbol: Bi.

Bk
Symbol for berkelium.

body burden
The amount of a toxic substance in the body of a human or animal.

bohrium
A chemical element with atomic number 107. Bohrium was discovered in 1976 by a team of scientists at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research at Dubna in Russia. The name neilsborium was given in honor of Niels Bohr.

Symbol: Bh.
Synonym: (obsolete) neilsbohrium.
Synonym: (obsolete) unnilseptium.
Related to transition metals.


boiling-water reactor
A reactor design in which the coolant water flows to the core where it is heated and is allowed to boil. Steam that is produced is passed through a heat exchanger where it is condenses to water and returned to the reactor.

Acronym: BWR.
Related to pressurized water reactor.


bone seeker
An element or chemical that if ingested migrates to the bones. An example is 90Sr, which behaves chemically like calcium and is deposited in the bones.

boron
A chemical element with atomic number 5. Boron was discovered in 1808 by Sir Humphry Davy and independently by Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac, and Louis-Jacques Thenard. It was discovered when boron oxide was heated with potassium metal, producing the residue boron. The name boron is derived from the Persian word burah.

Symbol: B.
Related to metalloids.


Bq
A symbol for becquerel.

Br
A symbol for bromine.

Bragg neutron
(obsolete term)

A cathode ray that supposedly picked up enough positive electricity to become neutral. Interaction of the neutron with matter causes the positive electricity to be transferred, leaving the original cathode ray.

Related to neutron.

breed
To form fissile nuclei, usually as a result of neutron capture, possibly followed by radioactive decay.

breeder
A synonym for breeder reactor.

breeder reactor
A nuclear reactor designed to produce more fuel (fissile material) than it consumes. Such reactors surround the fuel with a fertile (non-fissile) material that, when irradiated, produces fissile material. Also known as a converter reactor because it converts fertile material into fissile material.

Acronym: BR.
Synonym: breeder.
Synonym: nuclear breeder.
Related to converter reactor.


bremsstrahlung
A synonym for bremsstrahlung radiation.

bremsstrahlung radiation
Electromagnetic radiation emitted when energetic charged particles are accelerated in the Coulomb fields of atomic nuclei. A continuous spectrum of x rays is produced.

brevium
(obsolete term)

A synonym for protactinium.

British thermal unit
A unit of energy define as 1055.87 J. It is the amount of energy required to change the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit at sea level.

Symbol: Btu.

bromine
A chemical element with atomic number 35. Bromine was discovered in 1826 by Antonie-Jérôme Balard who extracted chlorine from natural brines from the Mediterranean Sea. The name bromine is derived from bromos, Greek for bad smell.

Symbol: Br.
Related to halogens.


Btu
A synonym for British thermal unit.

burnable fission poison
A strong neutron absorber added to reactor fuel or coolant water to control reactivity. The poison initially reduces the reactivity of new fuel. Neutron production by the fuel decreases over time, occurring as the concentration of the poison decreases due to neutron capture. This burning of the poison compensates for the loss of reactivity of the fuel, helping maintain the overall reactivity of the reactor.

Synonym: burnable poison.

burnable poison
Synonym for burnable fission poison.

burnup
A measure of nuclear reactor fuel consumption defined as the ratio of the fissile material consumed to that originally present.

Synonym: depletion.

BWR
An acronym for boiling-water reactor.

by-product
A material produced by a process or system that is not the primary product. An example is uranium depleted in the nuclide 235U which is a by-product of the uranium enrichment process.

by-product material
(1) Any radioactive material produced during the operation of a reactor. This includes fission and activation products but excludes special nuclear material. Tailings for waste from fuel fabrication are also considered by-product material.

(2) Any radioactive material other than special nuclear material yielding in, or made radioactive by, exposure to the radiation incident to the process of producing or utilizing special nuclear material.

(3) The tailings or wastes produced by the extraction or concentration of uranium or thorium from ore processed primarily for its source material content, including discrete surface wastes resulting from uranium solution extraction processes. Underground ore bodies depleted by these solution extraction operations do not constitute by-product material within this definition.

References: 10CFR20, 10CFR30, 10CFR72.
 
 
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