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Nuclear Chemistry Project

By Mrs. Kurzman & Mrs. Towle


“Nuclear chemistry is the most powerful and misunderstood topic in chemistry. The mention of the word
nuclear puts most people in fear and their first and sometimes only picture is that of a nuclear explosion.
What comes first to your mind when the term nuclear chemistry is brought up? Are the bomb, nuclear
power and radiation poisoning the only things nuclear chemistry has to offer?” (Ref 1).

Completing this project will allow you to understand many aspects of nuclear chemistry while also
working with your classmates to determine your stance on a specific use of nuclear chemistry in our

There are many applications of nuclear chemistry today. Here is a list of a portion of them:

Reactors: Energy
Scientific analysis
Radioactive Dating
Food and Agriculture
Insect Control
Food Preservation and Treatment
Industrial Uses

The end result of your quest will be a persuasive argument for or against a specific use of nuclear
chemistry in our world.
This will be a group project.
Each group will contain 2 to 3 people.
Your persuasive argument can be in any written form. For example, your group may choose to do a
pamphlet, a newspaper article, an essay, or any other written form of communication you choose.
Day 1
First, your group should assign responsibility. Identify which group members will do the research
about the history of nuclear chemistry and which members will do the research about your specific
topic. Submit a written account of each group member’s responsibility to your teacher. All research
will be handed in with your final project.

Second, begin the research for your paper. This should be separated into two portions:
Research about the history of nuclear chemistry. This must include:
 The scientists involved in the advancement of nuclear chemistry
 Stable vs. unstable nuclei
 Types of radiation emitted during nuclear reactions
 Nuclear Fission vs. Nuclear Fusion (Compare and contrast these two processes)

Research about the specific use of nuclear chemistry your group will focus on. Pick a topic
listed in the introduction section or find another use of nuclear chemistry in our world. You
should research the following about your topic:
 What are the nuclear reactions involved in this use of nuclear chemistry?
 What is the purpose of this use of nuclear chemistry in our world?
 What are the benefits of this use of nuclear chemistry in our world?
 What are the detriments of this use of nuclear chemistry in our world?

Day 2
Third, decide which stance your group will take on this particular use of nuclear chemistry in our
world. Are you for or against this particular use of nuclear chemistry in our world? Why?

Fourth, write your persuasive argument.

Decide which format you would like to use to present your stance. Refer to the introduction
section for examples of types of written formats you can use.
Write your history portion of your argument, done by those that did the research.
Write an introduction to your particular use of nuclear chemistry in our world.
Write your persuasive argument section, done by those that did the research.
You must use valid evidence to support your descriptions and arguments.
Remember, any and all thoughts or ideas formed by someone else must be cited appropriately.
A references section must be included in your final project. Failure to do so is considered
plagiarism and will result in earning a grade of zero for this project.

Day 3
Edit and finalize your project.

The previous ideas are adapted from the Task section of Ref 1.
The following resources are a good starting point for your research:

Nuclear Chemistry: An Introduction

Nuclear Chemistry in your Home
Medicine - diagnosis
Medicine Treatment
Scientific Analysis Techniques
Radioactive dating
Food and Agriculture
Industrial Uses
Nuclear Warfare
Nuclear Reactors


1. Nuclear Chemistry WebQuest at

Retrieved on April 18, 2006.