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Please find below some Frequently Asked Questions with corresponding answers.

Radiation is the emission of energy as electromagnetic waves or as moving subatomic particles, especially high-energy particles which cause ionization.

The sources of radiation are twofold i.e. natural sources and artificial sources. Natural radiation comes from cosmic rays from outer space and naturally occurring radioactive materials that exist in food, air and our natural habitat. Artificial radiation comes from exposure in medical practice, mostly due to diagnostic x-rays and industrial practices.

Radioactive sources are normally ‘sealed’ or encased in metal or foil. They are usually very small and their sizes can vary from tiny "seeds" used in cancer treatment, to the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen or a pencil eraser, to rods up to several inches in length, depending on the material and its shape and arrangement.

You cannot tell if something is radioactive with your naked eye. However, you can use radiation detectors that measure alpha, beta, gamma and x-rays and the trefoil sign to tell if something is radioactive or not.

Yes. This is known as Cerenkov radiation and is normally seen as a weak bluish colour in the pools of water shielding nuclear reactors

How far radiation can travel depends on the type of radiation and its ability to penetrate other materials. Alpha and beta particles do not travel far at all, and they are easily blocked whilst gamma rays, x-rays, and neutrons travel a significant distance and are much more difficult to block (especially for large radioactive sources).

The global average exposure of humans to ionizing radiation is about 2.4 – 3mSv (0.0024-0.003Sv) per year, 80% of which comes from nature. The remaining 20% results from exposure to human-made radiation sources, for example medical imaging (X-rays, CT scans etc).

Radioactive contamination and radiation exposure could occur if radioactive materials are released into the environment as the result of an accident, an event in nature, or an act of terrorism. Such a release could expose people and contaminate their surroundings and personal property.

Medical Uses: radiation is used in hospitals for both diagnostic (x-ray, CT, MRI etc) and treatment (cancer and other diseases) purposes Industrial Uses: radiation emitting devices and radioactive sources are used in industry for product sterilisation, level gauging, quality control and material density evaluation to mention just a few. Academic and Research Uses: Universities, colleges, senior high schools, and other academic and scientific institutions use nuclear materials in course work, laboratory demonstrations, experimental research, and a variety of other scientific applications. Agricultural Uses: Radiation is used to improve food production and packaging. Some plant seeds are exposed to radiation to bring about new and better types of plants. Radiation can be used to control insect populations and some foods are irradiated to increase their shelf lives. Nuclear Power Plants: Electricity produced by nuclear fission (i.e. splitting the atom) is one of the greatest uses of radiation.

Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that can cause lung cancer. It is inert, colorless and odourless and occurs naturally in the atmosphere in trace amounts. Radon disperses rapidly and, generally, is not a health issue outdoors and most radon exposure occurs inside homes, schools and workplaces.

Microwaves are a form of energy which cannot be seen with the human eye. Inside a microwave is a device called a magnetron which guides electrical energy from a power outlet to a heated filament, creating a flow of electrons that in turn transmits microwaves into the cooking chamber through an antenna. These microwaves bounce around in the chamber and cook food through radiation heating (i.e. exciting molecules within an object) by becoming lodged in water, sugars, and fats. Because the microwaves can travel only so far into an object before losing momentum, the outsides of thicker foods become heated by microwaves, and the insides are heated subsequently by the conductive transfer of heat from the outsides.

From epidemiologic research, persons living in or around places where telecommunication masts are erected are vulnerable to disorders like cancer, lung diseases, sleep disturbances and even physical disabilities; though according to WHO research, there are no current scientific proofs of health hazards associated with telecommunications masts.