Fall 2021 - NUSC 341 D100

Introduction to Radiochemistry (3)

Class Number: 2557

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We, Fr 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    AQ 5037, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 14, 2021
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM
    WMC 2532, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    Completion of 60 units in a science program, including first year calculus, chemistry and physics.



Brief description of the nucleus and its decays and reactions; interaction of radiation with matter; nuclear instrumentation; radioisotopes in chemistry; activation analysis and related analytical techniques; other applications of nuclear techniques; nuclear reactors and nuclear fusion. Quantitative.


Please note, this course outline was accurate at the time of publication but is subject to change.

Mode of Instruction:
3 lecture hours/week; 1 tutorial hour/week
Lecture: In-Person, Burnaby Campus
Tutorial: In-Person, Burnaby Campus

Course Description:
Brief description of nuclear matter, properties, sources of instability, modes of decays, nuclear reactions; interaction of ionizing radiation with matter; health physics; nuclear instrumentation; particle accelerators and radiation sources; nuclear reactors, fission and fusion, energy sources. The course will include virtual tours of TRIUMF – Canada’s particle accelerator centre, and guest lectures from Nuclear Science researchers.  

Lectures will be given in-person (recorded and posted on Canvas afterwards). Tutorials will be given in-person (and not recorded). Exams will be given in-person.


Week 1 – 7:

1. History of Nuclear Science; why do we care about nuclear science?
2. Nuclear Forces, Nuclei and Isotopes, Nuclear Instability
3. Mass-Energy Relationships, Nuclear Radii, Nuclear Binding Energies; Q values
4. Valley of Beta Stability
5. The Shell Model, Nuclear Properties, Excited Nuclei
6. Types of Radioactive Decay
7. Kinetics of Radioactive Decay

Midterm (two hours)

Week 7 – 13:

8. Nuclear Reactions
9. Absorption of Nuclear Radiation, Interaction of Radiation with Matter
10. Health Physics
11. Nuclear Medicine
12. Radiation Detectors
13. Particle Accelerators, Nuclear Reactors
14. Virtual Tour of Canada’s Particle Accelerator Centre (TRIUMF) and Life Sciences Radiochemistry Labs
15. Invited Lectures by Nuclear Science Researchers (as time permits) 
     • Description of job opportunities

Final exam (three hours)


  • Midterm Exam 20%
  • Final Exam 40%
  • Assignments 20%
  • Quizzes 20%



Choppin, Liljenzin, Rydberg & Ekberg. Radiochemistry and Nuclear Chemistry. 4th Edition. 2013 (available as an eBook from the library), and notes.


To be presented during the course.

Other resources:

  • Dunlap, An Introduction to the Physics of Nuclei and Particles.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.