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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Gamma Rays

Gamma Rays are a type of high energy radiation the form of Photons which have no mass. They are part of the electromagnetic spectrum. In Radioactive Decay they originate from changes in the structure and energy levels of the Atomic Nucleus, or, through electron-positron annihilation or by nuclear fission. Gamma rays travel greater distances than either Alpha Particles or Beta Particles and are much more difficult to shield. Whilst their mode of formation is different, they are identical to X-rays.

The definition of 'safe' is not strictly an engineering term; it's a societal term. Does it mean absolutely no loss of life? Does it mean absolutely no contamination with radiation? What exactly does 'safe' mean?

– Henry Petroski