Competition Between Beta and Double Beta Decay in 48Ca and 96Zr
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Highly forbidden beta decays of 48Ca and 96Zr are studied and their relative importance as compared to the double beta decay of these nuclei is evaluated. 48Ca and 96Zr are the only naturally occurring nuclei in which these processes can occur simultaneously. Although usually ordinary beta decay overwhelms double beta decay unless the former is energetically forbidden, in these cases the high degree of forbiddenness and small release of kinetic energy makes the half-lives of these modes comparable to each other.