ERT – Extended Response Task

Senior School

Assignment Cover Sheet

 Student’s Name: 
Subject:Physics                                        Year 12
Unit:Nuclear Physics
Assessment Genre:ERT – Extended Response Task
Teacher:Mr Porter                 Mr Gillin
Length:Total Length 1500-2000 words
Date given:Week 2, Term 3 2018
Progress check date:
Drafts for feedback due:
Final Report Due Date:    


This task gives you two options to choose from to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of nuclear physics. The two options are detailed on the following pages.



Thorium: the greener nuclear alternative

Tim Dean (is a science journalist and philosopher. He first wrote about thorium nuclear power in 2006.)

“Thorium is a superior nuclear fuel to uranium in almost every conceivable way, yet we hear almost nothing about it in the contemporary hubbub about nuclear power. If there is such a thing as green nuclear power, thorium is it.”

TASK A – Equations & Calculations

  1. Show in complete nuclear equations, how Thorium-232 can by, initially absorbing a neutron, eventually be converted to a useful uranium isotope. (This is multiple equations, not a single continuous equation.)
  • For each of the reactions in a)
  • Write the reaction in complete symbol form (i.e. with atomic and mass numbers.)
  • Work out the mass defect of the reaction (in atomic mass units [u])
  •  Then determine the energy released per fission in electron-volts and Joules.

TASK B – Report (1500 – 2000 words)

  • Produce a report that:
    • Critically evaluates the validity of the author’s proposal to use thorium as an alternative nuclear energy source. Is it as “green” as he claims?
  • Provides a justified recommendation about the best method of producing power (i.e. type of reactor) if it was decided to use thorium.

You are required to maintain a research journal to authenticate your work.


‘Nuke’ Pharmaceuticals

As a nuclear technologist at NukePharm, your job is to produce the radioisotopes in a cyclotron for use in a range of applications.  Recently you have been given the two tasks below. 

TASK A – Fact Sheet (400-500 words)

18F is a common isotope used in Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and one of the major isotopes sold by your company because of its long half-life.  You regularly produce 18F and measure its properties.  Not all the personnel in the hospitals who order 18F, however, are familiar with its properties or use in PET.  Some hospital personnel are uncertain of its safe use.

You are to produce a fact sheet/pamphlet about Fluorine-18.  This information sheet should include:

•             How P.E.T. works.

•             An explanation of why 18F is useful for medical diagnostics with PET.

•             The decay equation for 18F

•             The half-life of 18F

•             Safety precautions that should be taken when handling 18F.

•             An estimate of the time taken for 99% of the original 18F to decay.

•             A comment on the amount of exposure that the patient will experience as a result of a scan.

Attach to your information sheet (or include in your Research booklet) a neat copy of your calculations for each required value and a justification of your reasoning.

TASK B - Report (1200 - 1600 words)

Your lab produces several radiopharmaceuticals: 18F, 99Mo, 131I and 13N. The company directors have decided that costs have to be cut and indicated that produced of one of the isotopes must stop.

Prepare a report which:

  • Gives a brief summary of the uses of each isotope
  • Critically evaluates the factors that determine whether it is viable to continue production
  • Provides a justified recommendation as to which isotope should be discontinued.  

The report should be analytical, using persuasive language to convince them that your recommendation is worth following. Include an introduction in which you state your position (hypothesis) and then present the information you feel necessary. Finish with a conclusion that summarises your arguments.

You are required to maintain a research journal to authenticate your work.


You will be assessed on two pieces of evidence – a report and your equations & calculations (Topic 1) or fact sheet (Topic 2)

The focus of the logbook/research journal is the verification of the ownership of your work and management of the research task.


  1. Select one topic to research
  • Spend time brain-storming the topic question. Formulate a series of focus questions to support your investigation and record these in your journal
  • Identify a range (4-6) of valid and useful existing sources for this investigation. 
  • Take notes from the best of these existing sources. Do not just download large quantities of information, be selective.  Remember your Article is for a Year 12 Science student.  Therefore the language, explanations, calculations or diagrams must be appropriate for that age group.
  • Determine the key physics principles of which apply to your investigation.  You should relate these notes to the specific formulae. You should perform sample calculations which provide mathematical explanations of these principles.  Include appropriate diagrams, pictures etc.
  • Begin to develop paragraph topic sentences which can then be supported by researched evidence. Include useful and relevant diagrams to illustrate your argument.
  • Note the bibliographical details of all sources used in your research.  Make sure that you acknowledge your sources in your report by using in-text referencing.
  • Submit your draft by the Progress Check Date, by uploading on to CANVAS
  • Include a title page which details your name, topic choice, due date etc.     Staple your final hard copy.  Include also the task sheets, Criteria Pages and research booklet and submit the ERT during the physics lesson on the due date.




1. All work; notes, planning, drafting and editing must reflect your own skills.

2. Assignment work should be neatly handwritten or typed by the student. Attach a title page outling your name, teacher, due date, report topic, and word length. If the assignment is typed, it should be one and a half or double spaced and font size 12(plain styles). The assignment should be written in the third person i.e. no use of I, we etc.

3. Pages should be neatly stapled and include the assessment criteria sheet.

4. If you are absent on the due date, your assignment must reach your teacher by 9.00am on this day. Consequences for late or non submission (without valid reasons and supporting documentation eg medical certificates, approved prior to the due date by the Curriculum Co-ordinator and the Dean of Senior Years) will rest with the Curriculum Co-ordinator and Dean. This may result in the student’s failing to receive a level of achievement for that semester and, jeopardise the student’s OP.

5. NOTE: Computer, disk failure or printer failure are NOT acceptable excuses for lateness. A hard copy must be handed in for marking on time. Students should ensure that all stages of their assignment are saved and backed up adequately.

6. All work must be the intellectual product of the author. Ideas from other sources must be noted using appropriate forms of reference. Plagiarism will be severely penalised.

7. Bibliographies and referencing should follow the Harvard System as outlined in the School Dairy.

8. Tables, graph, figures and illustrations should be presented in the format shown on the back of this page.

I have read and understand this task description, all criteria and standards, and these conditions and guarantee that this is my original work,  completed in accordance with these conditions.

STUDENT’S SIGNATURE: ___________________________________________


STUDENT’S NAME: _________________________________________

KCU 1 Recall and interpretreproduction and interpretation of complex and challenging  nuclear concepts, theories and principles.reproduction and interpretation of complex or challenging  nuclear concepts, theories and principles.reproduction of nuclear concepts, theories and principles.reproduction of simple   nuclear ideas and concepts.reproduction of isolated  nuclear facts.
KCU 2 Interpret and applycomparison and explanation of complex concepts, processes and phenomena.comparison and explanation of concepts processes and phenomenaexplanation of simple processes and phenomena.description of simple processes and phenomenarecognition of isolated simple phenomena
KCU 3 Linking and applying Algorithmslinking and application of algorithms, concepts, principles, theories and schema to find solutions in complex and challenging situations.linking and application of algorithms, concepts, principles, theories and schema to find solutions in complex or challenging situations.application of algorithms, principles, theories and schema to find solutions in simple situations.application of algorithms, principles, theories and schema.application of simple given algorithms.
IP Use of secondary datasystematic analysis of  secondary data to identify relationships between patterns, trends or biasesanalysis of secondary data to identify patterns and trendsanalysis of  secondary data to identify obvious patterns and trends,identification of data  and obvious patterns.identification of data.
EC 1 Analyse and evaluateanalysis and evaluation of complex scientific interrelationships.analysis of complex scientific interrelationships.description of scientific interrelationships.identification of simple scientific interrelationships.identification of obvious scientific interrelationships.
EC2 Exploring Scenariosexploration of scenarios and possible outcomes with justification of conclusions/ recommendations.explanation of scenarios and possible outcomes with discussion of conclusions/ recommendations.description of scenarios and possible outcomes with statements of conclusion/ recommendation.identification of scenarios or possible outcomes.statements about outcomes.
      EC3 Presenting Datadiscriminating selection, use and presentation of scientific data and ideas to make meaning accessible to the intended audience.selection, use and presentation of scientific data and ideas to make meaning accessible to intended audiences.selection, use and presentation of scientific data and ideas to make meaning accessible.presentation of scientific data or ideas.presentation of scientific data or ideas.

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