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Radioactive contamination

30 Mar 2019 National Radio TV of Afghanistan

radioactive pollution can be classified into two groups: natural and man made.

Radioactive contamination, also called radiological contamination, is the deposition of, or presence of radioactive substances on surfaces or within solids, liquids or gases (including the human body), where their presence is unintended or undesirable (from the International Atomic Energy Agency – IAEA – definition).[3]

Such contamination presents a hazard because of the radioactive decay of the contaminants, which emit harmful ionising radiation such as alpha particles or beta particles, gamma rays or neutrons. The degree of hazard is determined by the concentration of the contaminants, the energy of the radiation being emitted, the type of radiation, and the proximity of the contamination to organs of the body. It is important to be clear that the contamination gives rise to the radiation hazard, and the terms “radiation” and “contamination” are not interchangeable.

Contamination may affect a person, a place, an animal, or an object such as clothing. Following an atmospheric nuclear weapon discharge or a nuclear reactor containment breach, the air, soil, people, plants, and animals in the vicinity will become contaminated by nuclear fuel and fission products. A spilled vial of radioactive material like uranyl nitrate may contaminate the floor and any rags used to wipe up the spill. Cases of widespread radioactive contamination include the Bikini Atoll, the Rocky Flats Plant in Colorado, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the Chernobyl disaster, and the area around the Mayak facility in Russia.

See also[edit]

Chemical hazard

Criticality accident

Human decontamination

List of Milestone nuclear explosions

Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents

Low-background steel

Nuclear and radiation accidents

Nuclear debate(disambiguation)

Nuclear power

Radiation biology

Radiation exposure (disambiguation)


Relative biological effectiveness

Rongelap Atoll

Soviet submarine K-19

Category:Victims of radiological poisoning

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