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 The decay of proton to neutron is possible only inside the nucleus due to Spontaneous processes such as neutron decay require that the final state is lower in energy than the initial state. In (stable) nuclei, this is not the case, because the energy you gain from the neutron decay is lower than the energy it costs you to have an additional proton in the core. For neutron decay in the nuclei to be energetically favorable, the energy gained by the decay must be larger than the energy cost of adding that proton. This generally happens in neutron-rich isotopes.

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