Guidance for Radiation Accident Management, REAC/TS


Basics of Radiation



Safety Around Radiation Sources

Types of Radiation Exposure

Managing Radiation Emergencies

Basics of Radiation

Characteristics of Alpha Radiation

1. Alpha radiation is not able to penetrate skin.

2. Alpha-emitting materials can be harmful to humans if the materials are inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through open wounds.

3. A variety of instruments have been designed to measure alpha radiation. Special training in use of these instruments is essential for making accurate measurements.

4. A civil defense instrument (CD V-700) cannot detect the presence of radioactive materials that produce alpha radiation unless the radioactive materials also produce beta and/or gamma radiation.

5. Instruments cannot detect alpha radiation through even a thin layer of water, blood, dust, paper, or other material, because alpha radiation is not penetrating.

6. Alpha radiation travels a very short distance through air.

7. Alpha radiation is not able to penetrate turnout gear, clothing, or a cover on a probe. Turnout gear and dry clothing can keep alpha emitters off of the skin.