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Ionising radiation

Environmental Radioactivity - Medicine - Occupational Radiation Protection - Nuclear Hazards Defence

Ionisierende Strahlung
Drei Finger einer Hand

Principles of radiation protection

Ionising radiation can trigger both deterministic and stochastic effects. The aim of radiation protection is to prevent reliably the deterministic effects of radiation. In order to keep the risk of stochastic damage from ionising radiation as low as possible, three general principles have been set out in radiation protection for dealing with ionising radiation: justification, dose limitation, and optimisation.

Friedensdenkmal in Hiroshima

Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: significance for radiation protection

The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 were to date the only time nuclear weapons were used in a military conflict. The health effects are vrious. The studies on health effects in the survivors are still an important basis for setting limit values in radiation protection and provide knowledge on the health risks of ionising radiation.

From activity to dose

The radioactive contamination of materials - regardless of whether that is air, water, soil, building materials or food - is usually expressed as activity of a radionuclide per mass (unit Bq/kg) or as activity per volume (unit Bq/l or Bq/m³). In particular cases, the activity can also be related to the surface area, for example in the case of the deposition of radionuclides on the ground after the Chernobyl reactor accident (unit Bq/m² or Bq/km²). In order to be able to make statements about possible hazards to human health, the measured activities (per mass or volume) of the radioactive substances have to be converted into doses (organ dose or effective dose, unit Sv).

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