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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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.

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