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What types of ionising radiation are there?

Ionising radiation is emitted by natural radioactive radiation sources but can also be generated artificially.

The following types of radioactive particles are distinguished:

  • alpha radiation (helium nuclei);
  • beta radiation (electrons from the nucleus);
  • positron radiation (positively-charged electrons from the nucleus);
  • neutron radiation and deuteron radiation;
  • gamma and X-ray radiation (electromagnetic radiation).

Enclosed and open sources

  • Enclosed radioactive sources are mounted on a carrier or encapsulated making the spread of radioactive substances almost impossible. Examples are calibration sources for contamination monitors and caesium sources for therapeutic purposes.
  • Open sources are radioactive sources that are not attached to a carrier. The risk of spread in the surroundings is large. Open sources are also used in research and in nuclear medicine. For use in laboratories specific requirements are imposed on the room worked in.
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