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The PTB group was studying the decay of radium-226, and they noticed the exact same behavior. As a result, the authors have shown that the effect seen with the radium-226 source is actually a result of the beta decay of the isotopes produced in the decay chain.
variation correlated with the distance between the earth and the sun, although it was much weaker than what was seen by BNL and PTB.
Instead, as a part of their standard routine, they use a detector to measure the background radiation in the lab.
On a weekly basis, however, they calibrate that detector by using it to measure the amount of radiation coming from a standard chlorine-36 isotope.
Throughout my scientific education (from high school through graduate school), I had it pounded in my head that radioactive half-lives are constant.
There is so much energy involved in radioactive decay that there is just no way to change the fundamental rate at which a given radioactive isotope decays without taking extreme measures that don’t generally occur in nature. Talnagi, “Additional experimental evidence for a solar influence on nuclear decay rates,” 2012.
So here we have the same detector being used to measure background radiation as well as the activity of a chlorine-36 isotope.