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Ingestion of I-131 and U-238. Which is worse?

Which would you be more concerned about ingesting - radioactive iodine or U-238? Why

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Definitely the I-131. This has a shorter half-life (8.30 days) and is a Beta emitter than U-238 (4.5 billion years) and is an Alpha emitter. The shorter half life means it has a higher emission rate and overall activity. Beta radiation (electrons) also have a greater penetration than alpha radiation (He atoms).

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Solution Summary

The health effects of I-131 and U-238 are discussed.