Radiation Protection

Radiation protection, sometimes known as radiological protection, is the protection of people and the environment from the harmful effects of ionizing radiation, which includes both particle radiation and high energy electromagnetic radiation


There are three factors that control the amount, or dose, of radiation received from a source. Radiation exposure can be managed by a combination of these factors:


1.  Time: Reducing the time of an exposure reduces the effective dose proportionally. An example of reducing radiation doses by reducing the time of exposures might be improving operator training to reduce the time they take to handle a source.


2.  Distance: Increasing distance reduces dose due to the inverse square law. Distance can be as simple as handling a source with forceps rather than fingers.


3.  Shielding: The term 'biological shield' refers to a mass of absorbing material placed around a reactor, or other radioactive source, to reduce the radiation to a level safe for humans. The effectiveness of a material as a biological shield is related to its cross-section for scattering and absorption, and to a first approximation is proportional to the total mass of material per unit area interposed along the line of sight between the radiation source and the region to be protected. Hence, shielding strength or "thickness" is conventionally measured in units of g/cm2. The radiation that manages to get through falls exponentially with the thickness of the shield. In x-ray facilities, the plaster on the rooms with the x-ray generator contains barium sulfate and the operators stay behind a leaded glass screen and wear lead aprons. Almost any material can act as a shield from gamma or x-rays if used in sufficient amounts.

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