Guidance for Radiation Accident Management


Basics of Radiation



Safety Around Radiation Sources

Types of Radiation Exposure

Managing Radiation Emergencies

Procedure Demonstration

Is it safe to be around sources?

Too much radiation exposure is harmful.  The degree of radiation injury depends on the amount of radiation received and the time involved.  In general, the higher the amount, the greater the severity of early effects (occurring within a few weeks) and the greater the possibility of late effects such as cancer.

The BEIR V (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation) Committee of the National Research Council estimates that among 100,000 people exposed to a one-time dose of 10 rem (10,000 mrem) and followed over their life span, about 790 more would die of cancer than the estimated 20,000 cancer deaths that would be expected among a non-exposed group of the same size.   NOTE: 10 rem = 100 millisieverts (100 mSv).

Radiation from Various Sources:

  • Natural cosmic and terrestrial radiation: U.S. average: 600 microSv/yr (60 mrem)
  • Natural radioactivity in body tissue: 400 microSv/yr (40 mrem)
  • Air travel round trip (London-New York): 40 microSv each way (4 mrem)
  • Chest X-ray: 100 microSv per test (10 mrem)
  • Radon in the home: 2 milliSv/yr (200 mrem) variable
  • Man-made (medicine, other): 600 microSv/yr (60 mrem)

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