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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Risk

In general terms risk can be defined as the potential for unwanted, adverse consequences to human life, property, health, environment or society. The calculation (or estimation) of risk is usually based on the Probability of the event occurring multiplied by the consequence of the event given that it has occurred. In order to do this a Risk Assessment has to be made which looks at all the hazards, severity and conditional probabilities.

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