Scientific controversy concerning radioisotopic dating

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In reviewing chronostratigraphic theory, from d' Orbigny to Hedberg, we see that concepts and practices have evolved under pressure of constant improvements in time control and data quality.Taking the five inter-series boundaries in the Cenozoic Erathem as case histories, we review their current status in relation to the lower boundary of the lowest `standard' stage above the boundary, in light of the hierarchical principle recommended in the (Hedberg, 1976; Salvador, 1994).In each instance, what should be a simple nested relationship turns out to be complex and difficult, and in the cases of the proposed global stratotype section and point (GSSPs) for the Eocene/Oligocene Series boundary and the Paleocene/Eocene Series boundary there are discrepancies so large with regard to the base of the Rupelian and Ypresian standard stages, respectively, that some essential relaxation of the hierarchic rule seems to be required if the historic value of these long-known stages is not to be violated.Radionuclides with long half-lives tend to be alpha and beta emitters – making their handling easier – while those with short half-lives tend to emit the more penetrating gamma rays.Eventually all radioactive waste decays into non-radioactive elements.Radioactive waste is not unique to the nuclear fuel cycle.Radioactive materials are used extensively in medicine, agriculture, research, manufacturing, non-destructive testing, and minerals exploration.The more radioactive an isotope is, the faster it decays.Radioactive waste is typically classified as either low-level (LLW), intermediate-level (ILW), or high-level (HLW), dependent, primarily, on its level of radioactivity.Unlike other hazardous industrial materials, however, the level of hazard of all radioactive waste – its radioactivity – diminishes with time.Radioactive waste includes any material that is either intrinsically radioactive, or has been contaminated by radioactivity, and that is deemed to have no further use.

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