A material that stops radiation. For alpha and most beta radiation a piece of paper is enough to stop the radiation. But for gamma radiation (the strongest of the three kinds) we use lead, steel or concrete.
Energy given off as a particle (made of two neutrons and two protons). Of the three kinds of radiation alpha is the weakest and can be stopped by a piece of paper.
The smallest unit of an element.
Each element has a different number of protons and the number of protons is also its atomic number. Elements are organized on the periodic table by their atomic numbers.
Each element has its own number of protons and neutrons. If you add those two numbers together, it makes the element’s atomic weight.
Radiation is all around us. It comes from outer space, the sun, rocks, people and even bananas! Background radiation refers to the natural radiation in our environment.
Energy given off as a charged particle. Of the three kinds of radiation beta is the not the strongest or the weakest and can usually be stopped by a piece of paper.
When man-made radiation is present in an area where it does not belong. Contamination can be cleaned up using many different techniques including removing soil, covering the area or adding special materials that absorb radiation.
A unit of measure for radiation.
The process in which a radioactive element releases energy as radiation and changes into a new, more stable element. This process is what makes nuclear materials unique from other elements.
The removal of radiation from an area using chemicals, soil removal, or soil amendments.
The amount of radioactivity absorbed by a specific entity like a person or object.
The tiny particles that circle the nucleus of an atom.
When an atom splits in half and releases a great deal of energy, as well as neutrons and radiation. Fission is the way that we create energy in a nuclear power plant.
The elements that are made when an atom splits in two during a fission reaction. Fission products are often called nuclear waste, however they can be reused to make more nuclear energy, they are used in medicine for things like X-Rays, CT Scans and cancer treatments, and they are used to decontaminate certain foods and reduce the risk of food poisoning.
The most penetrating form of radiation. Requires steel, lead and/or concrete to contain its rays.
A tool for measuring radiation.
The amount of time it takes for half of the atoms in a radioactive element to disintegrate.
The field of science devoted to identifying, understanding and controlling radiation with the goal of protecting human health.
An atomic particle that is either positively or negatively charged.
Radiation that can create an ion.
To expose something to radiation. This process is often used to sterilize surgical tools and to kill bacteria on food.
Isotopes are different variations of the same element. All forms of any given element have the same number of protons, but they can different numbers of neutrons which are noted in the name of the isotope. For instance, uranium-238 and uranium-235 are isotopes of the same element.
An atomic particle with no charge.
One of the particles that make an atom. It is the same weight as the proton in any given atom, but does not have an electrical charge.
A devise in which a fission reaction can be started, maintained and controlled. There are many different kinds of nuclear reactors.
The study and application of nuclear technologies.
The core of an atom, where most of its mass is. All of an atom’s positive charge is in its nucleus. In every element except hydrogen, the nucleus contains the atom’s protons and neutrons.
The positively charged particle in the nucleus if an atom. The proton’s mass will be similar to the neutron of any given atom.
Energy or particles traveling through space. There are two types of radiation: ionizing and non-ionizing. Usually when people talk about radiation they are referring to ionizing radiation, or the energy released by radioactive materials. Radio waves, light and heat are forms of non-ionizing radiation.
A technique for determining the age of a material based on the amounts of certain radioisotopes present. Carbon dating, which is often used in archeology and biology, is a type of radioactive dating.
Radioactive materials that cannot be used again.
An isotope that is radioactive, also known as a radionuclide. Radioisotopes are used in the production of energy, medical diagnostics and treatment, archeological carbon dating, irradiation for food safety, and even in home smoke detectors.
A protective barrier that stops the passage of radiation. Depending on the kind of radiation an example of shielding may be anything from a piece of paper to dense metal.
The transformation of one element into another in a nuclear reaction.