HKNIC - Nuclear Radiation - What is it

Nuclear Radiation
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Certain atoms, whether natural or man-made, may emit minute, high energy particles or energy pulses. The emissions from these atoms are called nuclear radiation.

What is Radiation?

In physics, radiation is a form of energy that may be carried as waves or as sub-atomic particles.

When radiation is carried as waves, it is known as electro-magnetic radiation. Its energy is in the form of electro-magnetic waves or photons. It includes radio-waves, microwave radiation, infra-red radiation, visible light, ultra-violet radiation, X-rays and gamma radiation.

The last two examples are also known as "ionising radiation". They have enough energy to "ionise", that is, to give an electrical charge to the matter they pass through, which in living tissue may upset normal biological processes. Other examples are known as "non-ionising radiation." They are weaker and do not ionise matter.

The Wave Spectrum: showing from radio-wave to gamma rays
Nuclear Radiation