By J. Craig Robertson (auth.)
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Extra resources for A Guide to Radiation Protection
For example, over I 00 rads must be imparted over a short period to a substantial part of the body before most individuals will show significant clinical symptoms. The rad is clearly a more useful unit than the roentgen since it can be used with all types of radiation. The rad expresses the energy absorbed in 1 g of any medium which is the critical factor in determining the risk involved in any radiation exposure. We can understand the rule of thumb given in chapter 2 that curie sources are more hazardous than mCi or ,uCi sources in terms of the absorbed dose, since in any given situation the absorbed dose from a curie source will be 1000 times greater than the absorbed dose from a mCi source and so on.
It is best to express the rad in terms of MeV/g since the energy associated with nuclear radiation is always given in MeV. A new unit called the gray (abbreviated Gy) has recently been adopted as the unit of absorbed dose and this will gradually replace the rad. 1 gray is equivalent to 100 rads Harmful levels of radiation are often stated in rads. For example, over I 00 rads must be imparted over a short period to a substantial part of the body before most individuals will show significant clinical symptoms.
Thus if 10 alpha particles fall on a piece of paper, all the alpha particles will pass through but with a reduced energy which means they will be moving more slowly. When the paper becomes a certain thickness all the alpha particles will be stopped in the paper-the thickness is called the range of the alpha particle for that material. The situation is similar for beta particles but the range is not so clearly defined. Things to remember from chapter S (I) Alpha particles are stopped by very thin layers of material so the air surrounding an alpha source provides good shielding.