Welcome to our website, dear readers. Radiation is not something we think about every day. Usually, when we hear this word, we imagine the Chernobyl nuclear power plant or some kind of Hollywood movie related to radiation. Yes Yes. Many associate radiation with this, imagining that it will turn them into either some kind of terrible monster, or, with luck, into a superhero, as shown in the films. While radiation is great fuel for any Hollywood scenario, it’s more than sci-fi fodder. Radiation is part of the world around you.
And today we decided to tell you something about this flow of energy that you and your children might not know. In the article we have prepared the most interesting facts about radiation.
There is an opinion that x-rays of teeth cause severe headaches. In fact, if a person gets a headache shortly after an X-ray of their teeth, then this has nothing to do with radiation. Small doses of radiation, which are used in medicine, do not cause headaches or any other problems. Moreover, over the years this technology has improved so much that lead shielding is not even required now.
Nuclear power plants emit very small amounts of radiation and do not pose a threat to people or the environment. Scientists have been monitoring the operation of nuclear power plants for more than 50 years and have not found evidence that radiation from nuclear power plants has a negative impact on public health.
A very big misconception is that solar energy is not nuclear. In fact, everything is exactly the opposite. All stars, including our beloved Sun, produce their energy by fusing hydrogen into helium in the central part of the star. That is, the hydrogen atoms present in the nucleus combine and turn into helium atoms. The resulting energy is radiated from the core of the Sun and dissipated in the space of the solar system. Therefore, solar energy is nuclear energy.
There are many different types of radiation that we are all exposed to in our daily lives. Radio waves, sunlight, microwaves. These are all types of radiation that are part of what is called the electromagnetic spectrum. X-rays and gamma rays, which people think of when they say radiation, are also part of this electromagnetic spectrum.
According to the interaction with substances, the types of radioactive radiation are divided into:
- Alpha. Has a low penetrating power. That is, the ability of alpha radiation to pass through a layer of some substance of a certain thickness is weak. Therefore, the impact of alpha particles on a living organism does not lead to serious consequences.
- Beta. Unlike alpha studies, betas have a higher penetrating power.
- Gamma. This is the type of radiation with the highest penetrating power. Moreover, in addition to the fact that gamma particles can penetrate deeply into the body, they also cause significant damage to it.
The dose of radiation received by a person while being close to a source of radiation depends on three factors:
- The distance between the radiation source and the person. The received dose decreases in proportion to the increase in the distance between the source and the person.
- Stay time. The dose received increases with longer exposure to radiation.
- Shielding between radiation source and person. Shielding reduces the impact of ionizing radiation on the human body.
Radioactivity was discovered in 1896 by the French physicist Antoine Henri Becquerel. He studied the relationship between luminescence and the recently discovered X-rays (discovered in 1895 by the German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen).
All natural products contain small amounts of radioactive isotopes. On average, through food, a person receives a dose of radiation equal to 40 millirem per year (this is more than 10% of the generally acceptable annual dose). Some foods are more radioactive than others. For example, such products include potatoes, sunflower seeds, bananas, Brazil nuts (one of the most radioactive products).
In 1964, American chemists found that tobacco smoke contained radioactive polonium-210. Later, other radioisotopes were also found in tobacco smoke: radium-226, radium-228, lead-210, cesium-226, thorium-228 and potassium-40. People who smoke cigarettes, on average, receive an annual dose of endowment equal to that of an ordinary person taking 300 chest x-rays a year.
The largest radiation disaster in the history of mankind occurred on April 26, 1986 at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. As a result of the accident, at least 18 countries were exposed to radioactive contamination, including the USSR, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Germany, Austria, Italy, etc.
The 20th century was the most catastrophic for the environment due to multiple nuclear tests. In total, about 2000 official nuclear explosions were carried out around the world. All countries that are allowed to own nuclear weapons have tested. Most of these tests (1050 explosions) were carried out by the United States of America. In second place is the Soviet Union, with 750 official explosions.
Uranium itself is not particularly radioactive (unless enriched). But uranium ore contains more decay products, which make it much more radioactive. The ore also emits radon gas, which must be contained or dispersed (radon is dense, so it settles well on the surface). It is radon that has the greatest negative impact on a person who works with uranium ore. This concludes our article, dear readers. Thank you for paying attention to our Internet resource.