Worldwide Effects Of Nuclear War: Some Perspectives
By: U.S. Arms Control And Disarmament Agency
This is measured in terms of “half-life”–the time required for one-half of the original substance to decay–which ranges from days to thousands of years for the bomb-produced radionuclides of principal interest. (See “Nuclear Half-Life” note.) Another factor which is critical in determining the hazard of radionuclides is the chemistry of the atoms. This determines whether they will be taken up by the body through respiration or the food cycle.