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Chapter 1 : Introduction

Nuclear Radiation arrow_upward

  • Nuclear Radiation is a term used to denote alpha particles, neutrons, electrons, photons and other particles.
    • These emanate from the atomic nucleus as a result of radioactive decay and nuclear reactions.

    What is Radioactivity? arrow_upward

  • Every substance is a collection of tiny particles known as Atoms.
  • There are 92 different kinds of atoms present on the earth.
    • The lightest of these is the hydrogen atom.
    • The heaviest is the uranium atom.
  • The heavier atoms are not as stable as the lighter atoms.
  • These unstable atoms are known as radioactive atoms.
  • They become stable only by emitting some radiation.
  • This emission of radiation by them is referred to as Radioactivity.
  • The particles released during radioactivity are associated with energy which is called radioactive energy.

  • What is Nuclear Radiation? arrow_upward

  • Certain substances by nature is unstable such as uranium, thorium etc.
  • The atoms of such substances attain stability by throwing away the excess energy in the form of electromagnetic radiations or particles.
  • These are called Nuclear Radiations or Ionising Radiations.
  • The nuclear radiations are termed as ionising radiations since they are capable of converting the neutral atoms of all substance into positive and negative ions through interactions.

  • Radiation Exposure to Public arrow_upward

  • Radiation has harmful effects on child development.
  • Radiation can induce cancers that appear years after an adult is exposed to them.
  • Aged people may have reduced ability of cell repair post their radiation-damage.
  • Radiation exposure to public is:
    • Natural – 87%
    • Manmade – 13%

  • To protect yourself from the radiation:
    • Stay indoors,
    • Close the windows,
    • Turn off external sources of air.
  • The three best ways to protect yourself from radiation exposures are:
    • Time
    • Distance
    • Shielding
  • To protect yourself from the internal radiation exposure inside a radioactive lab, you should not:
    • Eat and drink in the lab.
    • Store empty cups/containers/utensils in the lab or near radioactive materials,
    • Store food and/or drink in the lab,
  • Gamma and Neutron Particles are the main concerns for the internal radiation exposure.
  • The best way to decontaminate a person’s affected area from the external radiation exposure are:
    • Wash the contaminated area with mild soap and water.
    • Wipe off the affected area with pre-moistened wipes.

    How to Detect the Presence of Radiation? arrow_upward

  • Nuclear radiation cannot be detected by our senses.
  • We need to depend on indirect means for detection.
  • Radiation affects photo films just as light does.
    • So, photo films are used to detect and measure radiation levels.
  • There are other substances, which produce light when exposed to radiation.
    • These are known as Scintillators.
  • The intensity of light emitted by the scintillator is proportional to the radiation level.
  • Another type of instrument is the GM Counter, which is the most commonly used instrument for easy and quick
  • detection of radiation.
  • It measures the electric current produced when radiation passes through a gas.

  • How can One Get Affected by Radiation? arrow_upward

  • All living systems are made up of cells.
  • Human body has about 100,000 billion cells.
  • Most cells undergo division cyclically.
  • Body metabolism ensures a close balance between production of cells by cell division and the loss of cells by elimination.
  • When radiation passes through the body, it breaks up some of the molecules in the cells.
  • The body's natural mechanism can repair and restore the original shape of such broken molecules.
  • At low levels of radiation exposure, the repair mechanism is almost always effective.
  • Very rarely, this repair action may result in the broken molecules joining together in wrong order.
  • Appearance of cancer is the most important among the delayed effects.
  • Among occupational workers exposed to radiation, 1 in 1000 may develop cancer many years i.e. 10, 20 or even 40 years later.
  • If the exposure to radiation is moderately high or high, and occurs in a short time, then the body's repair mechanism may not be able to cope with the loss effectively.
  • To start with, symptoms like nausea and vomiting appear but there is no threat to life.
  • But as the exposure increases, the chances of recovery diminish.

  • Is Radiation the Only Cause of Cancer? arrow_upward

  • No, there are several causative agents for induction of cancer in humans, including various toxic chemicals that are always present in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat.
  • The pie chart indicates the cancer causing agents and their relative magnitude.

  • Thank You from Kimavi arrow_upward

  • Please email us at and help us improve this tutorial.

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