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They comprise about one-tenth of natural background exposure at sea level, and more at high altitudes.

Neutrons are uncharged particles mostly released by nuclear fission (the splitting of atoms in a nuclear reactor), and hence are seldom encountered outside the core of a nuclear reactor.* Thus they are not normally a problem outside nuclear plants.

In fact, the greatest exposure is caused by natural sources ever present in the environment, and the major contributor to exposure from artificial sources is the use of radiation in medicine worldwide.” Nuclear radiation arises from hundreds of different kinds of unstable atoms.

While many exist in nature, the majority are created in nuclear reactions.

Radiation is energy in the process of being transmitted.

It may take such forms as light, or tiny particles much too small to see.

They are emitted in many radioactive decays and may be very penetrating, so require more substantial shielding.

Gamma rays are the main hazard to people dealing with sealed radioactive materials used, for example, in industrial gauges and radiotherapy machines.

X-rays are also electromagnetic waves and ionizing, virtually identical to gamma rays, but not nuclear in origin.Exposure produces an effect like sunburn, but which is slower to heal.The weakest of them, such as from tritium, are stopped by skin or cellophane.Ionizing radiation which can damage living tissue is emitted as the unstable atoms (radionuclides) change ('decay') spontaneously to become different kinds of atoms.The principal kinds of ionizing radiation are: These are helium nuclei consisting of two protons and two neutrons and are emitted from naturally-occurring heavy elements such as uranium and radium, as well as from some man-made transuranic elements.They are produced in a vacuum tube where an electron beam from a cathode is fired at target material comprising an anode, so are produced on demand rather than by inexorable physical processes.