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THMG007 – Radiation

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In this episode we explore the wonderful world of radiation.

Complete Show Notes

6:25 What is Radiation?

  • Radiation is the easiest hazmat issue to deal with because it’s very straightforward
  • When an atom emits energy because it has too much
  • Nucleus of the atom wants to reach a stable state – wants to steal from somebody or give away to somebody
  • Can be a particle (has mass) or a wave (without mass)
  • Two types of radiation: ionizing radiation and non-ionizing radiation
  • Ionizing radiation is the stuff that can get into your body to cause cancer and other issues
  • Non-ionizing radiation examples include light from lightbulbs, microwaves, TV waves, etc.

9:00 Where Do We Find Radiation?

  • Cosmic – intergalactic, black holes, outer space
  • Solar – within our solar system from the sun
  • Terrestrial – from the Earth itself (radon, uranium, etc.)
  • Man-made – like x-ray machines
  • Industrial – machines used to determine structural integrity, smoke detectors, etc.
  • We’re constantly being bombarded with radiation

11:00 How Can You Protect Yourself from Radiation?

  • It’s very easy to protect yourself from radiation
  • Radiation Type #1: Alpha Radiation – think of this as a giant balloon with lots of mass; only concerning when it gets into your body
  • Radiation Type #2: Beta Radiation – alpha radiation on steroids; can travel up to 30 feet and you can get radiation burns on exposed skin
  • Radiation Type #3: Gamma Radiation – x-rays are one example of this type of radiation; can travel through anything, but the more it travels through things, the less powerful it becomes
  • Radiation Type #4: Neutron Radiation – form of particle radiation that’s in the background; particles enter the nucleus of the atom and cause it to become highly unstable and radioactive; usually found in bombs

18:10 How Do We Measure Radiation?

  • Radiation is usually measured in REM (roentgen equivalent man) – REM is measured based on the relative biological damage in the human body
  • Radiation absorbed into material is measured in RAD
  • Also measured via counts per minute or kilocounts per minute – number of times radioactive decay hits the sensor
  • Exposure – when radiation comes into contact with the body
  • Contamination – when radioactive material clings to the body or other objects
  • Dose – time you spend in the area affected by radiation (measured in REM)
  • Rate – how quickly you’re getting the radiation (measured in REM)
  • Chronic doses – radiation absorbed over a long time, but in small doses (i.e. x-ray technicians or employees at nuclear facilities)
  • Acute doses – radiation absorbed over a short time, but in high doses (i.e. hazmat technicians)

23:30 How Can We Protect Ourselves Against Radiation?

  • Time – limit your time in the field to get less of a dose; meter helps you determine how long you can safely be there
  • Distance – reducing your distance from the source reduces your exposure
  • Shielding – shields split the absorption between you and the shielding, thereby reducing your exposure

27:30 Metering

  • Use the length of your arm to judge distances
  • Circle the source of radiation to find the hot zone and drop cones or markers

Have a question? Send an email to feedback@thehazmatguys.com or leave a message on our Haz Mat Guys comment hotline: 843-628-1484

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