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. 

Radon (Gas)

Radon is a naturally occurring Radioactive gas which is derived from the Uranium and Thorium decay series. Radon (Rn-222) is a colourless, odourless, dense and chemically un-reactive substances and is the daughter of radium within the above-described series. It can be found in houses and workplace, more so where the ground contains Uranium decay series bearing rocks (e.g. granite). Radon is considered a health hazard because it decays to solid daughter products with the emission of Alpha Particles. For example, Rn-222 decays with a Half-Life of 3.8 days to Polonium-218, which itself then decays again (with a smaller half-life of 3 minutes) by an alpha particle to Lead-218. The decay series continues until stable Lead-206 is formed.

The ultimate paradox, of course, is that even though we're all going to die, we've all got to live in the meantime…

– Brian Cox -