Cobalt-60 is the most common form of radioactive cobalt that is commercially available. It is used in the form of tracer and radioactive therapeutic agent.
Cobalt-60 has a half life (the time in which a radioactive element looses 50%of its radioactivity) is 5.27 years.
60Co decays by beta decay to the stable isotope nickel-60.
The main uses for 60Co are:
- As a tracer for cobalt in chemical reactions
- Sterilization of medical equipment.
- Radiation source for medical radiotherapy.
- Radiation source for industrial radiography.
- Radiation source for leveling devices and thickness gauges.
- Radiation source for pest insect sterilization.
- As a radiation source for food irradiation and blood irradiation.
- As a radiation source for laboratory mutagenesis use.
Cobalt-60 has no natural source. It is being synthesized by bombarding Cobalt-59 (59C) with a slow neutron source.