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Radiation Safety

Radiation was present right from the beginning of this planet and all that occurred around the planet was mostly terrestrial form and more importantly natural radiations. While the study of radiations in real urgency started only during late 18th century the radiations continued being the subject of major discussion right from the beginning of all civilizations. The ability of X rays to cause injury in normal biologically alive subject became a reality and hence the beneficial and harmful characteristics of X rays started going around from 1900’s.

The ionizing rays of x rays cause positively and negatively charged particles within the subject which causes the injuries to tissues. The entire safety method against radiation is either to safeguard against such incidents or if in case a radiation poisoning has indeed taken then techniques to help the subject to survive against such incidents.

People who work on such projects especially the radiologists are trained for the following things.
  • Are trained and educated to know about safe operation of radiation producing imaging equipment
  • Use of protective devices wherever and whenever becomes a necessity 
  • Trained to follow established procedures
  • Trained to select technical exposure factors that significantly reduce the exposure threat to people work on these instruments or environment
Energy coming from sources which can travel through any material or through space. So light, heat or sound could be categorized as such radiations. There are some radiations which has ionizing effect which involves the charged particles or ions production. These could be either cosmic in nature or may be from spontaneous radioactive substances which are existing on Earth or may be found within living biome.

These are mostly colorless, neither have they had any odor and hence become almost undetectable by the five senses we have. These are detected with specialized instruments which tries to find out whether these are very harmful, the affected zones and to what extent the radiation has spread. People who work in hazardous work zones are more prone to these radiations than a normal person. 
    • People who work in mining and milling
    • People who work in fuel processing units
    • People who work in research units 
    • People who work nuclear facilities
    • People working in specialised medical units

 

X Ray Radiation Safety

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Quite like the visible light or the waves of radio frequency, the invisible ultra violet light, and gamma burst the X-rays are electromagnetic in nature.
Unlike the gamma rays which are highly penetrative the X rays are also penetrating but not as such as the gamma rays. 

Most of the X-ray radiation in modern day world comes from medical equipment’s and specialized medical device which use these for diagnostic purposes.

The general principles that need to be followed for safety against X ray radiation are as follows:
  • Adequate training for all staff members who use and operate X ray devices is essential
  • Limiting the beam size to minimum necessary levels and use of collimators built in the set
  • Using suitable filters to help remove unwanted soft radiation
  • X ray device operation needs to be carried out in rooms with proper shielding
  • Installing automatic visible and audible warning systems in the room of operation
  • Effectiveness of control measures needs to be checked regularly for both personnel and monitoring area

Radiation Protection

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The protection against X rays are easy as their relatively large mass and charge make their range of penetration limited and hence could be stopped in most of the media. Few cm in air and few micro meters in other mediums make this not as harmful as gamma rays. 
    • Only the most energetic ones are could penetrate about 7 mg per square cm dead layers of human skin. But once they are inside the human body could wreak havoc mainly because of the same properties.
    • X rays cannot become a source of contamination as most of the shielding problems for these emitters involve fixing the materials in place and hence cannot be contaminated by touch or by as airborne particles.
    • A layer of paint or any fixative could be used to reduce the level of contamination
    • Any individuals working in or visiting any radiation zones of these rays should be well informed about the precautionary methods
    • Minimisation of exposure is essential as these rays remain undetected unless these rays enter the subjects in significant amount

Radiation Shielding

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The primary objective in external radiation protection or shielding is to attenuate all radiations to a safe level. Alpha beta and neutron forms of radiation could be attenuated by the shielding effect of sufficient thickness of protective materials but as far gamma rays are concerned these cannot be completely attenuated but could be reduced the exposure to an acceptable levels.

One of the most effective shielding methods against radiation is water. So for any kind of effective shield a few meter thickness of water mass could provide a good option of protection against radiation. It’s evident that thick metal sheets when used against radiation could turn even more dangerous for the subject as the metal itself might start radiating after sometime.

Radiation Safety System

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An exposure if is within permitted levels need not be considered as life threatening if the safety method has failed. Safety systems should be utilised properly and monitored regularly to cross check the faulty parts or sealing leakage.
  • Employees in any radiation hazard units needs to be instructed in all kinds of applicable provisions to keep away or put away from radioactive materials
  • Radioactive materials stored in non-radiation zones needs to be secured against unauthorised removal or shifting from storage place
  • No one should be allowed to dispose radioactive materials except by transfer to authorized recipient approved by Nuclear Regulatory Commission 
  • Any missing or displaced radioactive materials needs to be detected and secured using radiation detectors and put away safely as well as decontaminate the area around the displacement
  • Member staff of all nuclear units needs to be taken through regular drill of safety measures or  precautionary methods applied in case of meltdown 
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