Radiation Protection Glossary

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

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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.

In the beginning, there was nothing, which exploded

– Terry Pratchett