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.
Materials Science & Technology
The objectives of MSTD are: promote the advancement of materials science in Nuclear Science Technology; support the multidisciplines which constitute it; encourage research by providing a forum for the presentation, exchange, and documentation of relevant information; promote the interaction and communication among its members; and recognize and reward its members for significant contributions to the field of materials science in nuclear technology.
2020 ANS Virtual Winter Meeting
November 16–19, 2020
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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Missouri S&T’s nuclear engineering program gains department status
Missouri S&T’s pool-type nuclear reactor. Photo: Sam O’Keefe/Missouri S&T
Sixty years ago, the Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T), then known as the University of Missouri at Rolla, was one of the first U.S. institutions to offer a nuclear engineering degree. Now, decades after it was offered as an option within metallurgical engineering, Missouri S&T’s nuclear program has attained new status as the Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Science Department, the university announced on October 20.
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