Radiation Protection Glossary

A radiation protection glossary for Radiation Protection Supervisors (RPS), Radiation Protection Advisers (RPA) and anyone else interesting in radiation safety terms and definitions. The glossary is a mixture of health physics , phrases related to radiation protection legislation, transport, practical safety, technical terms and similar.

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For formal advice, see our Radiation Protection Adviser pages. 

Free Radical

Free radicals can be formed in biological materials (e.g. DNA) when they undergo Ionisation (by interaction with Ionising Radiation). The free radical can be thought of as a reactive charged molecule which will readily combine with other cell constituents. A typical example is the ionisation of water which will produce H+ and OH- ions which can further react to produce Hydrogen Peroxide, which is highly oxidising and potentially very damaging to DNA.

Physics is, hopefully, simple. Physicists are not

– Edward Teller -