How most of us feel about radiation until we understand the principles of safe use:
The amount and type of radionuclides used at the University of Montana do not pose undue risk HOWEVER
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission does NOT have a sense of humor
…”Prompt and vigorous enforcement action will be taken when dealing with licensees and their employees who do not achieve the necessary meticulous attention to detail and the high standard of compliance which the NRC expects…”
What are we not talking about? At least not much
Non-Ionizing Radiation from High to Low Frequency
Radiation and Radioactive Material are a Natural Part of Our Lives
We are constantly exposed to low levels of radiation from outer space, earth, and the healing arts.
Low levels of naturally occurring radioactive material are in our environment, the food we eat, and in many consumer products.
Some consumer products also contain small amounts of man-made radioactive material.
Unstable Atoms Decay
The number of “decays” that occur per unit time in the radioactive material tell us how radioactive it is.
Units include Curies (Ci), decays per minute (dpm), and Becquerels (decays per second).
When an unstable atom decays, it transforms into another atom and releases it’s excess energy in the form of radiation. Radiation can be
Electromagnetic radiation (like X or gamma rays), and
Particles (like alpha, beta, or neutron radiation)
Sometimes the new atom is also unstable, creating a “decay chain”
How Unstable Is It?
The “Half-Life” describes how quickly Radioactive Material decays away with time. It is the time required for half of the unstable atoms to decay.
Some Examples Example:
Some natural isotopes (like uranium and thorium) have half-lives that are billions of years,