Jump to: navigation, search
Name, symbol Krypton-85,85Kr
Neutrons 49
Protons 36
Nuclide data
Half-life 10.756 years
Isotope mass 84.9125273(21) u
Spin 9/2+
Decay mode Decay energy
Beta decay 0.687 MeV

Template:Medium-lived fission products

Krypton 85 (85Kr) is a radioisotope of krypton.

It decays into rubidium-85, with a half-life of 10.756 years and a maximum decay energy of 0.687 MeV. Its most common decay (99.57%) is by beta particle emission with maximum energy of 687 keV and an average energy of 251 keV. Its alternative decay scheme (0.43%) is by beta particle emission (maximum energy of 173 keV) followed by gamma ray emission (energy of 514 keV).[1] The only other long-lived radioisotope of krypton is krypton-81 with a 210,000 year half-life; others have half-lives of less than two days.

Krypton-85 is produced in small quantities by the interaction of cosmic rays with the stable krypton-84 (which is present in concentrations of about 1 cm3 per metre3). However, since the mid-1940s, much larger quantites have been artificially produced as a product of nuclear fission. When uranium-235, or another fissile nucleus fissions, it usually splits into two large fragments (fission products) with mass numbers around 90-140, and two or three neutrons. About three atoms of krypton-85 are produced for every 1000 fissions (i.e. it has a fission yield of 0.3%).[2]

About 5 million curies of the isotope was released into the atmosphere as a result of nuclear weapons tests between 1945 and the end of atmospheric testing in 1962. The 1979 accident at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant released about 50,000 curies of Kr-85 into the atmosphere. [2] The atmospheric concentration of krypton-85 peaked in around 1970, when it reached around 10 picocuries per metre3. Since then the cessation of atmospheric weapons tests and the reduced production of plutonium has, because of the short half life of the isotope, led to a sharp reduction in the atmospheric concentration.

A large nuclear power plant produces about 300,000 curies of the isotope per year, most or all retained in the spent nuclear fuel rods. Nuclear reprocessing currently releases Kr-85 to the atmosphere when the spent fuel is dissolved. It would also be possible to capture and store it as nuclear waste or for use.

Uses in Industry

It is used for indicator lights in appliances such as stereos, and in arc discharge lamps commonly used in the entertainment industry for large HMI film lights as well as most moving lights. It is also used to detect leaks in piping.

See also


  2. 2.0 2.1 "Human Health Fact Sheet" (PDF). Argonne National Laboratory. August 2005. Retrieved 2006-11-25.