ANS is committed to advancing, fostering, and promoting the development and application of nuclear sciences and technologies to benefit society.
Explore the many uses for nuclear science and its impact on energy, the environment, healthcare, food, and more.
Isotopes & Radiation
Members are devoted to applying nuclear science and engineering technologies involving isotopes, radiation applications, and associated equipment in scientific research, development, and industrial processes. Their interests lie primarily in education, industrial uses, biology, medicine, and health physics. Division committees include Analytical Applications of Isotopes and Radiation, Biology and Medicine, Radiation Applications, Radiation Sources and Detection, and Thermal Power Sources.
2020 ANS Annual Meeting
June 8–11, 2020
Online Virtual Meeting
The Standards Committee is responsible for the development and maintenance of voluntary consensus standards that address the design, analysis, and operation of components, systems, and facilities related to the application of nuclear science and technology. Find out What’s New, check out the Standards Store, or Get Involved today!
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Nuclear Science and Engineering
Fusion Science and Technology
Nominations needed for the 2021 ANS election
Each year, ANS leaders are nominated and elected from among the dedicated nuclear technology professionals that make up the Society’s membership. Now is your chance to nominate candidates to run in the 2021 ANS national election for the offices of vice president/president-elect and treasurer and for five positions on the ANS Board of Directors. All terms will begin in June 2021.
You are exposed to ionizing radiation every day from natural and human-made sources.
Natural radiation comes from the soil, which contains a number of radioactive elements such as uranium, radium, and thorium. High-energy radiation also reaches Earth from far in outer space.
Human-made radiation is the greatest source of exposure today, primarily in medical imaging and procedures. In fact, medical uses of radiation account for 98% of exposure to artificial radiation. In contrast, nuclear power plants account for less than 1% of exposure.
Is radiation harmful?
Like many tools, radiation brings humanity a number of significant benefits. Cancer treatment, pest control, smoke detection, medical sterilization, space travel, clean energy— these are ways that nuclear science and technology improve our lives.
Handled correctly, radiation is a safe and powerful tool.
Using radiation safely
How much radiation you receive depends on three things:
The amount of radiation exposure you receive increases the longer you are near the source. Radiation workers are exposed to radiation every day, so they wear dosimeters—devices that measure the amount of radiation a worker receives as they work. Very few people who do not work with radioactivity spend enough time near a powerful source.
Distance can be used to reduce exposure. The farther away you are from a radiation source, the less your exposure. In fact, doubling the distance from a source of radiation decreases the exposure rate to 1/4 the original exposure rate.
Shielding is the placement of a material that reduces radiation between the radiation source and you, like the lead apron a radiologist places over your body.
Different kinds of radiation require different absorbers
Radiation safety often involves shielding--placing a radiation absorbing material near the radiation source.
α ALPHA – can be stopped after traveling through about 1.2 inches of air, about 0.008 inches of water, or a piece of paper. Your skin provides adequate shielding because alpha particles can’t penetrate it. Alpha particles can be very harmful if inhaled or ingested, though.
β BETA – – Beta particles are more penetrating than alpha particles. They travel farther in air than alpha particles, but can be stopped by a layer of clothing or by a layer of a metal.
γ GAMMA: Thick, dense materials are necessary to shield from gamma rays. The higher the energy of the gamma ray, the thicker the shield must be. X-rays also require thicker shielding. This is why x-ray technicians often give patients receiving x-rays a lead apron to cover other parts of their body.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulates commercial nuclear power plants and other uses of nuclear materials, such as in nuclear medicine, through licensing, inspection and enforcement of its requirements.
Learn more about radiation
Last modified April 17, 2020, 4:39pm CDT