The Chemistry Essay

Nuclear equations for production of radioisotopes

Understanding of term transuranic element and methods of production
Transuranic elements are elements with an atomic number above that of uranium with atomic number Z= 92. Most only exist for a short time as they are radioactive and spontaneously decay.
Only three of the transuranic elements, those with atomic numbers 93, 94 and 95, have been produced in nuclear reactors. 
  * When U-238 is bombarded with neutrons it can be converted to U-239 that undergoes beta decays to produce neptunium and plutonium.
  * Pu-239 is changed to americium by neutron bombardment.
Americium-241 is used in most house smoke alarms.
Transuranic elements from atomic number 96 and up are all made by accelerating a small nucleus (such as He, B or C) in a charged particle accelerator to collide with a heavy nucleus (often of a previously made transuranic element) meiterium and hassium.
In accelerators, Hassium produced by bombarding lead with iron
208Pb + 58Fe                 265Hs + 1n
In nuclear reactors, Neptunium (Z=93) is obtained by neutron bombardment of plutonium

Americium is obtained by neutron bombardment of plutonium

Conditions under which a nucleus is unstable and the types of radioactive decay 
All elements heavier than bismuth (Bi-83) (and some lighter) exhibit natural radioactivity and thus can "decay" into lighter elements. Nuclear reactions result in the transmutation of one element into a different isotope or a different element altogether as it seeks for stability. There are three common types of radiation and nuclear changes:
Alpha Radiation (α) is the emission of a high energy alpha particle from an unstable atom's nucleus. Even thought an alpha particle is emitted at a high energy, it loses energy quickly as it travels through the air, due to its mass and therefore cannot travel long distances. It is able to be stopped by a sheet of paper/ outer layers of...