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.

Search the Glossary by either clicking on a letter or typing a keyword into the search box. This glossary is relational so when looking at one term you can click through to other related terms as required.

For formal advice, see our Radiation Protection Adviser pages. 

Industrial Radiography

Industrial radiography is specifically the use of ionising radiation in non destructive testing (NDT). NDT is a process where an article is "tested", and in the case of industrial radiography uses ionising radiation (via a radioactive source, x-ray tube or accelerator) to form an image on radiation sensitive film or real time imaging systems, to detect potential or actual defects. Examples of this would include testing for a crack in a gas pipe, a defective pipe weld, integrity of a pressure vessel or similar. The UK IRR17 defines this exactly as follows 'means the use of ionising radiation for non-destructive testing purposes where an image of the item under test is formed (but excluding any such testing which is carried out in a cabinet which a person cannot enter)' (Reg 2-1). Note here the word "test" (of an item). It follows that Industrial Radiography does not include any of the following:

  • X-ray screening for security purposes (e.g. in cargo and freight etc)
  • X-ray diagnostic imaging or patients (this is a medical exposure - diagnostic radiology).
  • X-ray imaging of a painting, museum specimen or similar.
  • X-ray of animals (e.g. veterinary x-ray) - note this is not diagnostic radiology as that only applies to medical x-rays of humans.

For a detailed discussion of industrial radiography, check out the following link (December 2023): Potential occupational, non-occupational and accidental radiation exposures in industrial radiography using radioactive sources.

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school

– Albert Einstein -