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Benefits in Everyday Life

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  • There are many activities in our everyday lives that would be impossible without the use of radiation or radioactive materials.
  • Diagnostic purposes - Radioisotopes can be used to provide an image of an internal structure in the human body, or they can allow doctors to visualize various stages in the function of an organ. Radiation from X-rays also fall into the diagnostic category.
    Therapeutic purposes - Radiation and radioisotopes can be used to damage or destroy abnormal or diseased cells. Therapeutic uses include treatment of cancer and other diseases with ionizing radiation. Ionizing radiation can be deposited in the area being treated (the target tissue) or it can be administered externally.
  • X-rays give doctors the ability to "look" inside the body and provide images of bones or facilitate a procedure. Some examples of diagnostic X rays include dental, radiographs, topography, CT scans, fluoroscopy and densitometry.
  • X-Radiation or Radiographs are probably the type of radiation we are most familiar with. These are the short time exposures we get when we go to the dentist and get a x-ray or have to have a bone xrayed at the doctor’s office. This type of radiation exposure yields a very low dose to our whole body.
  • Fluoroscopy is a technique used by doctors to look at soft tissue in the body. This technique is typically longer in exposure than a diagnostic x-ray and also yields a higher dose to the body.
  • X-rays give doctors the ability to "look" inside the body and provide images of bones or facilitate a procedure. Some examples of diagnostic X rays include dental, radiographs, topography, CT scans, fluoroscopy and densitometry.
  • Radioisotopes give doctors the ability to "look" inside the body and observe soft tissues and organs, in a manner similar to the way x-rays provide images of bones.
    To detect problems within a body organ, doctors use radiopharmaceuticals or radioactive drugs. Radioisotopes that have short half lives are preferred for use in these drugs to minimize the radiation dose to the patient. In most cases, these short-lived radioisotopes decay to stable elements within minutes, hours, or days, allowing patients to be released from the hospital in a relatively short time. Radioisotopes carried in the blood allow doctors to detect clogged arteries or check the functioning of the circulatory system. Some chemical compounds concentrate naturally in specific organs or tissues in the body. For example, iodine collects in the thyroid while various compounds of technetium-99m* (Tc-99m) collect in the bones, heart, and other organs. Taking advantage of this proclivity, doctors can use radioisotopes of these elements as tracers. A radioactive tracer is chemically attached to a compound that will concentrate naturally in an organ or tissue so that a picture can be taken. The process of attaching a radioisotope to a chemical compound is called labeling. Technetium-99m is used in more than 80% of the cases.
    (The Regulation and Use Of Radioisotopes in Today's World -NUREG/BR-0217)
  • Ionizing radiation deposits energy that injures or destroys cells in the area being treated (the target tissue). Internal radiotherapy involves placing radioactive implants directly into a tumor or body cavity, e.g., brachytherapy.
    Criteria for internally deposited radioisotopes:
    the half-life should not cause an extended stay in the hospital
    radioisotope should emit particulate radiation (alphas or betas)
    radioisotope should also emit gamma rays to determine that the appropriate region has been targeted
    External beam radiotherapy refers to the process of focusing photons such as X-rays or gamma rays onto cancer located on the surface of the body, or inside the body. The same property that makes radiation hazardous can also make it useful in helping the body heal. When living tissue is exposed to high levels of radiation, cells can be destroyed or damaged so they can neither reproduce nor continue their normal functions. For this reason radioisotopes are used in the treatment of cancer (which amounts to uncontrolled cell division). Although some healthy tissue surrounding a tumor may be damaged during the treatment, mostly cancerous tissue can be targeted for destruction.
    A device called a teletherapy unit destroys malignant tumors with gamma radiation from a radioisotope such as cobalt-60 (Co-60). Teletherapy units use a high-energy beam of gamma rays to reduce or eradicate tumors deep within the body. These units are licensed by the NRC because they use byproduct material that is produced only by a nuclear reactor. (The Regulation and Use Of Radioisotopes in Today's World -NUREG/BR-0217)
  • External beam radiotherapy refers to the process of focusing photons such as X-rays or gamma rays onto cancer located on the surface of the body, or inside the body. The same property that makes radiation hazardous can also make it useful in helping the body heal. When living tissue is exposed to high levels of radiation, cells can be destroyed or damaged so they can neither reproduce nor continue their normal functions. For this reason radioisotopes are used in the treatment of cancer (which amounts to uncontrolled cell division). Although some healthy tissue surrounding a tumor may be damaged during the treatment, mostly cancerous tissue can be targeted for destruction.
  • Ionizing radiation deposits energy that injures or destroys cells in the area being treated (the target tissue). Internal radiotherapy involves placing radioactive implants directly into a tumor or body cavity, e.g., brachytherapy.
    Criteria for internally deposited radioisotopes:
    the half-life should not cause an extended stay in the hospital
    radioisotope should emit particulate radiation (alphas or betas)
    radioisotope should also emit gamma rays to determine that the appropriate region has been targeted
    External beam radiotherapy refers to the process of focusing photons such as X-rays or gamma rays onto cancer located on the surface of the body, or inside the body. The same property that makes radiation hazardous can also make it useful in helping the body heal. When living tissue is exposed to high levels of radiation, cells can be destroyed or damaged so they can neither reproduce nor continue their normal functions. For this reason radioisotopes are used in the treatment of cancer (which amounts to uncontrolled cell division). Although some healthy tissue surrounding a tumor may be damaged during the treatment, mostly cancerous tissue can be targeted for destruction.
    A device called a teletherapy unit destroys malignant tumors with gamma radiation from a radioisotope such as cobalt-60 (Co-60). Teletherapy units use a high-energy beam of gamma rays to reduce or eradicate tumors deep within the body. These units are licensed by the NRC because they use byproduct material that is produced only by a nuclear reactor. (The Regulation and Use Of Radioisotopes in Today's World -NUREG/BR-0217)
  • Ionizing radiation deposits energy that injures or destroys cells in the area being treated (the target tissue). Internal radiotherapy involves placing radioactive implants directly into a tumor or body cavity, e.g., brachytherapy.
    Criteria for internally deposited radioisotopes:
    the half-life should not cause an extended stay in the hospital
    radioisotope should emit particulate radiation (alphas or betas)
    radioisotope should also emit gamma rays to determine that the appropriate region has been targeted
    External beam radiotherapy refers to the process of focusing photons such as X-rays or gamma rays onto cancer located on the surface of the body, or inside the body. The same property that makes radiation hazardous can also make it useful in helping the body heal. When living tissue is exposed to high levels of radiation, cells can be destroyed or damaged so they can neither reproduce nor continue their normal functions. For this reason radioisotopes are used in the treatment of cancer (which amounts to uncontrolled cell division). Although some healthy tissue surrounding a tumor may be damaged during the treatment, mostly cancerous tissue can be targeted for destruction.
    A device called a teletherapy unit destroys malignant tumors with gamma radiation from a radioisotope such as cobalt-60 (Co-60). Teletherapy units use a high-energy beam of gamma rays to reduce or eradicate tumors deep within the body. These units are licensed by the NRC because they use byproduct material that is produced only by a nuclear reactor. (The Regulation and Use Of Radioisotopes in Today's World -NUREG/BR-0217)
  • Radioisotopes of a chemical element behave in the same manner as a stable, non-radioactive element. Many radioactive forms of the stable elements essential to life are used in research for molecular biology and human genetics for example phosphorus 33, phosphorus 32 and carbon 14.
    Radioisotopes are used as a research tool to develop new strains of food crops that are more
    resistant to disease, are of higher quality, allow earlier ripening, and produce a higher yield.
    Radioisotope-powered electrical generators have been used to power exploration space craft, navigational, weather, and communication satellites. They allow us to operate weather stations at the North and South Poles, seismic sensing stations in remote locations, and devices placed on the ocean floor for scientific investigations and
    national defense. (The Regulation and Use Of Radioisotopes in Today's World
    (NUREG/BR-0217)
    Clinical research has been designed to address the disposition of drugs in hair, saliva, liquid perspiration, plasma, blood and urine. Other research interests include the development of sensitive and accurate methods for the screening of drugs and the analysis of drugs of abuse in humans.
  • As radiation from a radioisotope passes through matter, it is scattered or absorbed. The amount of radiation passing completely through depends on the thickness and density of the matter. This property makes radiation useful for many manufacturing quality control processes.
    For example, radioisotopes in gauges are used to monitor and control the thickness of sheet metal, textiles, aluminum foil, newspaper, copier paper, plastics, and photographic film as they are manufactured. Radiation penetrates the material as it is processed, and detectors measure the amount of radiation passing through and compare it to the amount that should be detected for the desired thickness of material. If the readings are too high or too low, controls in the manufacturing process can be activated to correct the problem. This is accomplished with a high degree of accuracy, and the materials need not be touched by human hands.
    Radioactive tracers can also be used in the machine-tools industry to measure wear on cutting tools and drills. Gauges also play a role in the measurement of everyday objects, such as the amount of glue on a postage stamp, the level of liquid in canned beverages, the amount of air whipped into ice cream, and the amount of tobacco packed into a cigarette. Other gauge and nuclear instrument applications include:
    (1) monitoring the structural integrity of roads, buildings, and bridges;
    (2) exploring for oil, gas, and minerals;and
    (3) detecting explosives in luggage at airports. To ensure adequate water supplies, radioisotopes are used to measure water runoffs from rain and snow, flow rates of streams and rivers, and leakage from lakes, reservoirs, and canals.
  • Radioisotopes are used in many of today's industrial processes. High-tech methods that ensure the quality of manufactured products often rely on radiation generated by radioisotopes. To determine whether a well drilled deep into the ground has the potential for producing oil, geologists use nuclear well-logging, a technique that employs radiation from a radioisotope inside the well to detect the presence of different materials. Radioisotopes are also used to sterilize instruments; to find flaws in critical steel parts and welds that go into automobiles and modem buildings; to authenticate valuable works of art; and to solve crimes by spotting trace elements of poison, for example. Radioisotopes can also eliminate dust from film and compact discs as well as static electricity (which may create a fire hazard) from can labels. (The Regulation and Use Of Radioisotopes in Today's World - NUREG/BR-0217)
  • The can/package content monitor schematic shows how a level gauge would work on an assembly line in a factory. Radiation is passed through the assembly line goods and measured on the other side. If the radiation beam is blocked by the product inside of the package (i.e. if the radiation does not reach the detector on the other side of the package) the high signal will alarm and reject the can.
  • This type of gauge is used for transmission thickness detection. Radiation penetrates the material as it is processed, and detectors measure the amount of radiation passing through and compare it to the amount that should be detected for the desired thickness of material. If the readings are too high or too low, controls in the manufacturing process can be activated to correct the problem. This is accomplished with a high degree of accuracy, and the materials need not be touched by human hands.
  • Food Irradiation is a physical means of food treatment comparable to heat pasteurization, canning, or freezing. It does not make the product radioactive.
    The process involves exposing food, either packaged or in bulk, to one of three types of radiation: gamma rays, machine generated electrons, or X-rays.
    Food Irradiation promises to improve our ability to preserve food for longer with better retention of the original qualities of the food, while at the same time reducing the incidence of food-borne diseases and infestation problems in bulk foods.
  • Radioisotopes can also be used to test for the presence of certain materials. For example, a small amount of americium-241 is found in most smoke detectors used in homes and offices. This radioisotope is part of the sensing unit that triggers an alarm when smoke is present. Radioactive material is used in self-illuminating exit signs and aircraft instrumentation. The radioactive material supplies the energy to stimulate the contained compound to glow in the dark. (The Regulation and Use Of Radioisotopes in Today's World -NUREG/BR-0217)
  • As concern over global warming grows and parts of the country struggle to obtain reliable and affordable electric power, nuclear power continues to meet a significant part of US energy needs.
    Source of chart: Energy Information Administration Annual Energy Outlook 2000
    http://gils.doe.gov:1782/cgi-bin/w3vdkhgw?qryCDAVuliZ_;doecrawl-024700
  • Transcript

    • 1. Benefits of RadiationinEveryDayLife Presented by:
    • 2. Be ne ficialUse s o f Radiatio n Medical Diagnoses and Treatment Research Applications Industrial/Manufacturing Applications Food Irradiation Consumer Products/Safety and Security Spacecraft Power Supply Electric Power Generation
    • 3. Me dicalUse s Diagnostic Generally low doses Short-time exposures Therapeutic Generally high doses Short to long time exposures
    • 4. Diag no stic Use s X-radiation Radiographs Fluoroscopy CT scan Nuclear Medicine
    • 5. X-Radiatio n: Radio g raphs Short time exposures (much less than a second) Low doses Dental: 0.08 - 0.10 mSv (8 - 10 mrem) Chest: 0.06 - 0.10 mSv (6 - 10 mrem) Mammogram: 0.3 - 0.5 mSv (30 - 50 mrem) Hip: 0.4-0.8 mSv (40-80 mrem)
    • 6. X-Radiatio n: Fluo ro sco py Long time exposures (minute or longer) Higher doses Barium Enema: 6 - 9 mSv (600 - 900 mrem) Upper GI: 3.5 - 5.5 mSv (350 - 550 mrem)
    • 7. X-Radiatio n: CT-Scan Series of short exposures at different angles Computer analysis and display Gives cross-section view of anatomy Medium doses: Head: 2 - 3 mSv (200 - 300 mrem) Body: 3 - 4 mSv (300 - 400 mrem)
    • 8. Nucle ar Me dicine Radioactive material injected into the patient Gamma radiation detected to give image - computer analysis Used to: Locate tumors Determine organ function
    • 9. Skeletal Scan of Person After a Tc-99m nuclear Medicine Injection
    • 10. The rape utic Use s Radiotherapy (Direct radiation beam) Gamma rays Electron beams X-radiation Brachytherapy (Radiation from internally deposited radioactivity) Removable seeds (long half-life) Permanent seeds (short half-life)
    • 11. The rape utic Use s (Co ntinue d) Internal Unsealed Sources Biological uptake (Iodine) Direct injection Very High Local Doses for Therapeutic Uses 50 to several hundred Sieverts, depending on the type, location, and size of the tumor
    • 12. Therapy Machine used for Targeting Cancerous Tissue
    • 13. Characte ristics o f Ide al Brachythe rapy Radio nuclide s Half life should not cause extended stay in hospital Radioisotope should emit alpha or beta radiation Radioisotope should also emit gamma rays to ensure targeted area is treated
    • 14. Characte ristics o f Ide al The rape utic Radio nuclide s Half life should not cause extended stay in hospital Radioisotope should emit alpha or beta radiation Radioisotope should also emit gamma rays to ensure targeted area is treated
    • 15. Re se arch Use Biological and Genetic research Agricultural research Space research Pharmaceutical research
    • 16. Manufacturing Te sting and Me asure m e nts Monitor thickness of materials during production Sheet metal, aluminum foil Newspaper Measure wear on cutting/drilling tools Other measurements Amount of glue on postage stamp Level of liquid in canned beverages
    • 17. IndustrialUse Well logging Moisture/density gauges Radiography Sterilization Medical instruments Cosmetics Food/Spices
    • 18. Le ve lG aug e Gam m a Switching Te chniq ue source NaI detector High signal reject Can/package content monitor Storage hopper level control detector Low level alarm High level alarm source
    • 19. Thickne ss G aug e Transm issio n Thickne ss Te chniq ue load conveyor source Belt weigher NaI detector
    • 20. Thickne ss Gaug e Source Detector No n-co ntact m e asure m e nt and co ntro lo f liq uids, so lids o r slurr pipe line s. Spe cific so urce siz e is se le cte d fo r e ach applicatio n. This is also re fe rre d to as g am m a g aug ing o r be lt we ig hing
    • 21. Thickne ss G aug e Be ta backscatte ring te chniq ue
    • 22. Thickne ss G aug e Gam m a Backscatte ring Te chniq ue Coal glass Source NaI detector Sampled volume
    • 23. Fo o d Irradiatio n Food treatment comparable to pasteurization Kills pests/microorganisms without food degradation Controls sprouting Does not make the food radioactive FDA Approved Must be labeled
    • 24. Co nsum e r Pro ducts Safe ty and Se curity Smoke Detection Equipment Self-powered Lighting in Exit Signs Lighted Aircraft Instrumentation Pharmaceutical Detection Bomb/Weapons Detection Scanning and Surveillance Equipment Theft Deterrent Systems
    • 25. Space craft Po we r Supplie s Small radioactive sources have provided heat and electrical power for space probes for decades Radioactive power supplies have allowed space craft to explore the outer solar system, too far from the sun for solar panels to be effective
    • 26. Ele ctric Po we r Ge ne ratio n Nuclear Power supplies about 20% of the country’s electric power Unlike fossil fuels, nuclear power does not release greenhouse gasses

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