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What are the risks of ionising radiation?

If the body is exposed to radioactive radiation then tissue damage can occur. The damage increases as the quantity of radiation energy absorbed increases.

Dependent on the quantity and dosage rate, radiation can have two types of consequences:

  • the direct consequences: within several hours or weeks. Cell damage, burns or genetic mutations occur;
  • the later consequences: sometimes decades later abnormalities are expressed (genetic mutations, cancer) or abnormalities occur in the offspring.

Irradiation and contamination

  • Irradiation is understood to mean external exposure; this stops as soon as you remove yourself from the source.
  • Contamination is understood to mean internal exposure. The exposure stops as soon as the radioactive source is excreted from the body. This can proceed very slowly.