Questions about Radiation Questions about Radiation Protection

Index to All commonly Asked questions Pages

Questions around Radiation

What is radiation?

Radiation is power given turn off by matter in the type of beam or high-speed particles. All issue is written of atoms. Atoms are comprised of various parts; the nucleus includes minute particles dubbed protons and neutrons, and also the atom's external shell has other particles referred to as electrons. The cell core carries a positive electrical charge, when the electrons bring a negative electrical charge. These pressures within the atom occupational toward a strong, stable balance by obtaining rid of excess atomic power (radioactivity). In that process, unstable nuclei might emit a amount of energy, and this spontaneous emission is what we contact radiation.

You are watching: How fast does nuclear radiation travel

There are countless familiar develops of radiation. For example, we use light, heat, and microwaves every day. Doctors use x-rays to see inside our bodies. Radio and television waves lug us our favourite shows. All of these are forms of radiation. Radiation is likewise naturally existing in ours environment, as it has actually been because before the bear of this planet. The sun and stars send a continuous stream the cosmic radiation to Earth, lot like a secure drizzle that rain. Also, the earth itself is a resource of terrestrial radiation. Radioactive products (including uranium, thorium, and radium) exist naturally in soil and also rock. Basically all air contains radon, water contains little amounts of dissolved uranium and also thorium, and all organic matter (both plant and also animal) contains radioactive carbon and potassium. In addition, all people have interior radiation, mainly from radioactive potassium-40 and carbon-14 inside their bodies from birth and, therefore, are sources of exposure come others. Finally, come a lesser degree, human being are additionally exposed come radiation from the nuclear fuel cycle, native uranium mining and also milling to disposal of offered (spent) fuel. In addition, the general public receives part minimal exposure native the transportation of radiation materials and also fallout native nuclear weapons testing and also reactor mishaps (such as Chernobyl).

Where walk radiation come from?

Radiation is naturally existing in our environment, together it has been due to the fact that before the birth of this planet. In addition, radiation have the right to be created artificially, together in clinical x-rays and microwaves for cooking. Nonetheless, most people are not mindful of all the natural and also man-made sources of radiation in our environment. For added information, watch Radiation All around Us.


How far does radiation travel?

Travel distance counts on the form of radiation, as does the capability to penetrate other materials. Alpha and also beta particles perform not travel far at all, and they are easily blocked. By contrast, gamma rays, x-rays, and also neutrons take trip a far-ranging distance and are lot more complicated to block (particularly for huge radioactive sources). For extr information, watch Radiation Basics.

How are radioactive materials used?

In medicine, radioactive materials are supplied for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Similarly, in biological and also biomedical research, lock are supplied to test new drugs and to study cellular functions and bone development in mammals. In addition, radioactive products are supplied in various commercial applications to protect food and blood supplies, boost the safety of roads and buildings, locate new energy sources, irradiate emergency exits, warn of fires, and more. Every users need to be license is granted by the or by "Agreement States" authorized by the For extr information, see The Regulation and Use of Radioisotopes in Today's World.

What perform radioactive sources look like?

Radioactive resources are frequently “sealed,” or encased in metal or foil. They are usually very small; their size deserve to vary from small "seeds" supplied in cancer treatment, come the dimension of the guideline of a ballpoint pen or a pencil eraser, come rods increase to several inches in length, depending upon the material and also its configuration.

How deserve to I call if other is radioactive?

You can't, without the aid of a radiation detector. In addition, it is essential to understand what kind of detector you have and also the form of radiation — alpha, beta, gamma, x-ray, and/or spirit — the it can detect. Scanning an item with a typical gamma/x-ray radiation detector will certainly not finding alpha particles, because that example. For added information, check out Detecting Radiation.

What is tritium, and what have the right to it execute to you?

Tritium (hydrogen-3 or 3H) is a weakly radiation isotope of the element hydrogen, which occurs both naturally and also during the procedure of nuclear strength plants. Tritium is one of the least dangerous radioisotopes due to the fact that it emits very weak radiation and also leaves the body relatively quickly. Nonetheless, exposure to very small amounts of ionizing radiation is assumed to minimally rise the hazard of emerging cancer, and also that risk boosts as exposure increases. Since tritium is practically always found as water, if ingested, the goes straight into soft tissues and also organs. The dose to this tissues is normally uniform and also depends ~ above the tissue's water content. For extr information, view How deserve to Tritium and also Strontium-90 impact me?

What kind and how lot radiation is produced by a nuclear power plant?

An operation nuclear power plant produce very small amounts of radioactive gases and also liquids, as well as tiny amounts of straight radiation. If you lived within 50 mile of a nuclear strength plant, girlfriend would obtain an typical radiation dose of about 0.01 millirem every year. To put this in perspective, the average human in the United claims receives an exposure of 300 millirem per year from herbal background resources of radiation.

What happens to radiation created by a plant?

Nuclear strength plants periodically release radioactive gases and liquids into the environment under controlled, monitored problems to ensure that they pose no risk to the public or the environment. This releases dissipate right into the environment or a big water source and, therefore, room diluted to the suggest where it becomes challenging to measure any radioactivity. By contrast, most of an operation nuclear power plant's straight radiation is clogged by the plant's steel and concrete structures. The remainder dissipates in one area that controlled, uninhabited space around the plant, ensuring that it walk not affect any member that the public.

Are nuclear plant workers radioactive themselves?

Nuclear plant workers room no an ext radioactive than anyone else. Other than in inexplicable circumstances, such as an accident at the plant, workers receive just minimal walk of radiation and rarely end up being contaminated with radiation. It is crucial to remember that being exposed to radiation does not make one radioactive, except in very certain circumstances.

Questions around Radiation Protection

How go radiation influence the public?

The exact result depends on the specific form and intensity of the radiation exposure. For extr information, view Radiation and also Its health and wellness Effects.

Why execute you should be careful approximately radiation?

For the same reason we must be careful about open flame, toxic chemicals, or knives. Used and also stored properly, because that example, a knife can help us prepare and also eat food; misused, that can cause injury and also possibly death. Similarly, as soon as handled correctly, radioactive materials have many valuable uses; misused, however, it have the right to pose a far-reaching danger. Ionization can cause damage within a cell, which might eventually lead to cancer, a mutation in genetic material, or much more immediate species of physical harm to humans.

Why shouldn't you pick up a radioactive source and put it in your pocket?

It really depends on the source. Relying on their size and activity, plenty of sources save on computer enough energy to cause far-reaching damage to human skin and tissue. In general, you need to avoid contact with radioactive sources other than in controlled cases — such as a physician administering radioisotopes for medical diagnosis or treatment.

What is the worst radiation can do come you? How deserve to this be prevented indigenous this happening?

Radiation deserve to kill girlfriend (if you are exposed to sufficient of it) by doing so much damage to her bodily solution that your body deserve to no much longer function. The regulatory device for radioactive materials is designed to avoid the possibility that anyone can receive one exposure even close come the levels that might inflict temporary damage.

The simplest preventions against harmful radiation exposure are time, distance and shielding. Limit the moment you room exposed come the radioactive source; boost the distance in between you and also the source; and also shield you yourself by put objects between you and also the source. This concepts type the communication of atom regulation so that we may enjoy the useful uses the radioactive materials while minimizing the threat to windy health and also the environment. For added information, see Minimize your Exposure.

If radiation is dangerous, why execute we usage radioactive material?

One might think the radioactive products as a knife. Used and stored properly, a knife can help us prepare and also eat food; misused, that can cause injury and possibly death. Similarly, as soon as handled correctly, radioactive materials have actually many helpful medical, industrial, and academic uses. For added information, watch The Regulation and also Use of Radioisotopes in Today's World.

Who regulates radioactive materials and radiation exposure?

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory board of directors ( is the Federal agency responsible protecting the health and also safety the the public and also the environment by licensing and also regulating civilian uses of the following radioactive products in medical, academic, research, and industrial applications (including the generation of atom power):

Of more than 20,000 active source, byproduct, and also special nuclear materials licenses in place in the joined States, around a quarter space administered by the, when the remainder are administered through 34 commitment States. For extr information, check out Regulation of radiation Materials.

Why doesn't the control the radiation in mine microwave oven?

There are a number of reasons, stemming primarily from our governing legislation (particularly the Atomic power Act the 1954, together amended). Microwave radiation is non-ionizing radiation. It reasons electrons come vibrate, in order to generating heat, however it walk not have actually sufficient energy to reason physical harm by removing electrons from atoms. The form of radiation the actually has actually sufficient energy to eliminate electrons from atom is referred to as ionizing radiation. The regulates man-made, and also some specific varieties of naturally emerging ionizing radiation.

How deserve to exposure to radiation it is in minimized?

Time, distance, and shielding measures minimize her exposure come radiation in much the same method as they would certainly to defend you versus overexposure come the sun (as depicted in the complying with figure). For extr information, view Minimize her Exposure.


Are over there pills to take to safeguard someone indigenous radiation?

Potassium iodide (KI) protects human being from thyroid cancer brought about by radioactive iodine, a kind of radioactive material that have the right to be exit in atom explosions. KI must only be taken in a radiation emergency that entails the relax of radioactive iodine. Since the use or relax of radiation iodine native a “dirty bomb” is highly unlikely, KI pills would not be useful.

How is someone decontaminated if they acquire radioactive product on them such together from a dirty bomb?

A “dirty bomb” is one form of “radiological dispersal device” that combines a conventional explosive (such as dynamite) through radioactive material. Many dirty bombs would not release enough radiation come kill human being or reason severe illness. However, these steps have the right to be take away to minimize the hazard of contamination:

Remove contaminated clothes as quickly as possible, and place them in a sealed plastic bag. The clothes could it is in used later to calculation a person's exposure.Gently wash skin to eliminate any possible contamination, making sure that no radioactive material enters the mouth or is transferred to locations of the confront where it might easily be relocated to the mouth and also swallowed.

Is radiation exposure from a nuclear strength plant constantly fatal?

No, regimen emissions during normal operation of a nuclear power plant are never ever lethal. Even in the really unlikely event of a nuclear strength plant accident, it would be extremely unlikely the someone would be in one area for a sufficient period of time to get a radiation dose that would certainly be thought about lethal.

Experience has presented that, during normal operations, nuclear strength plants commonly release only a small portion of the radiation enabled by the's created limits. In fact, a human who security a full year in ~ the border of a nuclear power plant site would receive second radiation exposure of less than 1 percent the the radiation the everyone obtain from organic background sources. This added exposure (about 300 millirems — a unit used in measure radiation absorption and its effects) has not been presented to cause any harm to human being beings.

What barriers administer protection native radiation produced by a nuclear power plant?

The radioactive material that fuel a nuclear strength plant is contained in ceramic fuel pellets that are qualified of withstanding thousands of degrees of heat. This fuel pellets are then encased in hollow steel rods that assist keep the material from communicating with the water the cools the reactor. In addition, the reactor's thick steel walls and piping, and also a enormous reinforced concrete containment structure, room designed to store the coolant, fuel, and associated radiation isolated from the environment.

Why can't a nuclear gauge explode prefer a bomb?

A gauge does not have enough radioactive material — or the ideal kind of product — to cause an explosion. That does not have the ability to produce a to explode of energy that one would certainly associate through a bomb.

See more: How Do I Get Rid Of My Diamond Resorts Timeshare, Planning To Get Out Of Diamond Timeshare

Even a nuclear reactor does not explode. The product in a reactor is distributed in such a way that that does no release energy instantaneously; rather, the is a controlled reaction the sustains power production for valuable purposes.

Where can I learn more about radiation protection?

On this site, see Related details or call Us around Radiation Protection, or departure this website to access the adhering to resources: