Radiation Protection Rules of Thumb & FAQ

A set of radiation protection rules of thumb covering brief guides, frequently asked questions (FAQ), equations or principles, hints and tips for use in the workplace. Use with care (and always with consultation from a Radiation Protection Adviser).

  • Calculate an estimate of x-ray dose rate from an x-ray tube given kV and mA

    Published: Mar 24, 2024

    Source: Dr Chris Robbins, Grallator/ Ionactive Radiation Protection Resource

    • X-ray
    • X-ray dose rate
    • X-ray generator
    • mA
    • kV
    • Calculate x-ray tube output
    • Formula for x-ray tube output
    • Calculate x-ray tube dose rate
    • Anode
    • Cathode
    • Bremsstrahlung x-rays
    • Characteristic X-rays
    • Tungsten target
    • Inverse square law
    • Energy Absorption
    • Mass Energy Absorption Coefficient
    • Gray (Gy)
    • NDT X-ray tube
    • Medical X-ray tube
    • Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA)

    How do you calculate an estimate of dose rate from an X-ray tube give kV and mA? In this resource we consider a 'ballpark' estimate of radiation dose rate using some physics principles, including an estimate of % bremsstrahlung from an anode target, combined with a calculation of power density and consideration of average energy absorption rate.

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  • What is an RPA (Radiation Protection Adviser)?

    Published: Mar 16, 2024

    Source: Ionactive Radiation Protection Resources

    • RPA
    • Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA)
    • Radiation Protection Advisor
    • RPA2000
    • IRR17
    • Ionising Radiations Regulations 2017
    • Notification
    • Registration
    • Consent
    • HSE
    • Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
    • Certain practices
    • Specified practices

    At Ionactive we are often asked 'What is a Radiation Protection Adviser (RPA), and do we need one?' This is an interesting question and concept, since the question is aimed directly at an RPA. We give objective advice and for most uses of ionising radiation a Radiation Protection Adviser is required, sometimes only for initial advice via consultation, but more often than not via an official appointment (in writing). Here is a quick summary of the role of the RPA and why a user of ionising radiation will probably need to appoint an RPA.

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  • Lead shielding thickness - what are the lead codes?

    Published: Mar 09, 2024

    Source: Ionactive Radiation Protection Resource

    • Lead shielding
    • Lead codes
    • Lead thickness
    • x-ray shielding
    • Gamma ray shielding
    • Lead sheeting
    • Lead bricks

    What do lead codes mean and how do they relate to thickness? Often you might calculate a certain level of lead radiation shielding required (e.g. for an x-ray inspection enclosure) and need to supply this information to an architect who is helping you design the facility. They will ask you -"what code lead do we need to use? Find out what you need to know in this article.

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  • Formula for calculating dose rates from gamma emitting radioactive materials

    Published: Mar 01, 2024

    Source: Ionactive Radiation Protection Resource (Mark Ramsay, RPA)

    • Gamma emitter
    • Dose Rate
    • Formula
    • Radioactivity
    • D=ME/6r2
    • Gamma rays
    • Gray (Gy)
    • Sieverts (Sv)
    • MeV
    • Mass energy attenuation coefficient
    • Linear attenuation Coefficient
    • Air absorption factor
    • Tissue absorption factor
    • Cobalt 60
    • Co-60
    • Caesium-137
    • Cs-137
    • Iridium-192
    • Ir-192
    • Low energy photons

    A rule of thumb updated for 2024! This article considers the following expression D=ME/6r2 which has turned up in text books and training courses, but there appears to be no direct reference to when it was created and by whom. We start by using the expression with Cs-137 and see how the results compare with other resources available for calculating dose rates for chosen radionuclides with given activity and distance. We then hand over to Dr Chris Robbins of Grallator who is a maths, physics and nuclear physics whizz who derives this expression from first principles, outlining the good, the not so good and how it can be improved.

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  • How reliable is TVT (10th Value Thickness) in radiation shielding calculations?

    Published: Feb 20, 2023

    Source: Ionactive Consulting Radiation Protection Resource

    • TVT
    • 10th Value Thickness
    • TVL
    • 10th Value Layer
    • Linear attenuation Coefficient
    • Mass Absorption Coefficient
    • MFP (Mean Free Path)
    • Buildup
    • Relaxation length
    • Mean Free Path (MFP)

    The TVT (10th value thickness), and HVT (1/2 value thickness) are easy to use simplifications in radiation shielding calculations. They are a good approximation to the solution desired, and in many cases will give shielding results as good (i.e. as accurate) as the more complicated and expensive models (e.g. MicroShield and MCNP etc). However, they should be used with caution and especially where thin shields are required with low energy photons. The TVT may over estimate the shielding required, but not always. This resource will explore these issues and answer questions like 'is build up (B) accounted for in published TVT / HVT data' and similar. You will also note that there is a requirement to interpolate publicly available data (e.g. for linear attenuation coefficients) and this alone can explain why published TVT for a particular gamma emitter and shielding material can vary.

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  • How do I convert TVT (10th value thickness) values to attenuation for Gamma or X-ray sources of radiation?

    Published: Feb 15, 2023

    Source: Ionactive Consulting Radiation Protection Resource

    • TVT
    • 10th Value Thickness
    • Attenuation
    • Radiation Shielding
    • TVL
    • 10th Value Layer

    Using exact values of TVT (10 value thickness) is quite easy - just work in 1/10ths. However, a little more work is required when you have fractions of a TVT, or you want to know precisely the attenuation of a given radiation shield, or precisely how many TVT is contained within a given thickness of material. This article provides the information you need!

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Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas

– Marie Curie -