What is the significance of atomic nuclear decay?

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Atomic nuclear decay refers to the process by which the nucleus of an atom decays. Nuclear decay is accompanied by release of alpha or beta or gamma radiations and it may result in an isotope of the same atom (by gamma decay) or a new element (by alpha or beta decay). There are a number of applications of nuclear decay, some of the more common applications include carbon dating and nuclear fission. Carbon dating is a technique used to measure the age of fossils and is based on the decay of carbon-14 to nitrogen-14 (beta decay, half life = 5730 years). Similarly, the decay of uranium produces energy (through chain reaction) and this is used as the basis of nuclear energy generation and making nuclear weapons. 

 

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