- Describe the hazards of ionising radiation to living things.
Ionising radiation can cause mutation (change in a gene) which causes uncontrolled multiplication of cells and ultimately, cancer. These mutations could also be passed down generations. Ionising radiation can also kill living cells in our bodies. The radiation from the nuclear atom bombs dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of world war II in 1945 killed over 200,000 people.
- Describe how radioactive materials are handled, used and stored in a safe way to minimise the effects of these hazards.
Radioactive materials should be kept at a safe distance from the user(s) by thick lead screens if necessary (since alpha, beta and gamma particles cannot pass through lead). They should be used for a very short time as to reduce exposure.
Radiation workers in nuclear power stations and laboratories are required to wear the radiation film badge that can be used to measure how much radiation the worker has been exposed to. This can help find out how much more time the worker can work with the materials safely i.e. when to stop working.
Unwanted radioactive waste should be disposed off securely in a safe distance away from human and animal habitats, in accordance to legal regulations.
After use, these materials need to be stored in lead-lined containers and stored away safely.
Notes submitted by Lintha
Click here to go to the next topic.
Click here to go back to the previous topic.
Click here to go back to the Science menu.