(Radiation for the Layperson)

The following material attempts to explain radiation in simple terms, by putting into perspective, radiation issues, sources (natural and man-made), quantities, exposures, and risks.


Radiation Education for K-12 Students

  • The Student Corner.  Information about nuclear energy, radiation and radioactive waste from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).

  • RadTown USA.  Information about radiation history, famous people, types of radiation and symbols from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

  • Energy Kids.  General energy and science education for students from the Department of Energy (DOE).

Health Physics Society Position Statements

The following links are current technical position statements of the Health Physics Society on a variety of controversial radiation related issues.

  • Radiation Risk in Perspective
    PS010-2. July 2010
    Position Statement of the Health Physics Society.
    In accordance with current knowledge of radiation health risks, the Health Physics Society recommends against quantitative estimation of health risks below an individual dose of 5 rem in one year or a lifetime dose of 10 rem in addition to background radiation.

  • Ionizing Radiation Safety Standards for the General Public
    PS005-3. February 2009
    Position Statement of the Health Physics Society.
    The Health Physics Society is deeply concerned over the trend of individual agencies to set radiation dose limits that are very different from those adopted by national authorities without due consideration of the effectiveness or of the full impact on public health.

  • Compatibility in Radiation Safety Regulations
    PS004-1. July 2007
    Position Statement of the Health Physics Society.
    The Health Physics Society believes that regulations for protection against radiation, as well as other environmental and technological risks, should be based on the comprehensive evaluation and balancing of all risks, benefits and costs.

  • Uncertainty in Risk Assessment
    PS008-2. February 2013
    Position Statement of the Health Physics Society.
    Risk assessment is the process of describing and characterizing the nature and magnitude of a particular risk and includes gathering, assembling and analyzing information on the risk.

  • Low-Level Radioactive Waste Management Needs a Complete and Coordinated Overhaul
    PS009-2. September 2005
    Position Statement of the Health Physics Society.
    The important uses of radioactive materials associated with biomedical research, clinical medicine, drug development, academic research, and industrial research and testing, plus the continued generation of a substantial portion of our electric power all depend on the safe management of low-level radioactive waste (LLW) and continued access to suitable LLW sites.

  • Perspectives and Recommendations on Indoor Radon
    PS002-1. October 2009
    Position Statement of the Health Physics Society.
    Radon is a colorless and odorless radioactive gas that is and always has been a natural component of the air we breathe.

  • Clearance of Materials Having Surface and Internal Radioactivity
    PS012-2. July 2007
    We recommend that constraints be applied to all regulated, nonmedical, nonoccupational sources of radiation exposure to the general public, excluding indoor radon, such that no individual member of the public will receive in any one year a total effective dose equivalent (TEDE) exceeding 1 mSv from all such sources combined. We support the adoption of ANSI Standard N13.12 (1999), “Surface and Volume Radioactivity Standards for Clearance.”

  • Guidance for Protective Actions Following a Radiological Terrorist Event
    PS019-0. January 2004
    This position statement by the Health Physics Society provides recommendations for decision makers for protective actions in response to a radiological terrorist event.

  • Use of Ionizing Radiation for Security Screening Individuals
    PS017-1. December 2009
    When the practice is used to screen members of the general public, screening systems and their use should conform to the requirements of ANSI/HPS N43.17.1 This standard limits the reference effective dose delivered to the subject to 0.25 microsieverts per screening.

  • Intentional Nonmedical Radiation Exposure of the Public
    PS028-0. July 2012
    This position statement specifically addresses the bioethics of these human exposures, including the appropriateness of informed consent for these exposures, as well as the circumstances in which it may be justifiable to perform covert screenings, i.e., without the knowledge of those being deliberately exposed.

  • Radiation Safety Culture
    PS026-0. February 012
    Individuals and organizations performing activities with radioactive materials and radiation-producing machines should establish and maintain a positive radiation safety culture commensurate with the safety and security significance of their actions and the nature and complexity of their organizations and functions.

  • Occupational Radiation Safety Standards and Regulations are Sound
    PS013-1. July 2012
    The most reliable studies of the effects of radiation exposure at the low levels received by occupational workers have not been able to detect adverse health effects associated with lifetime exposures smaller than approximately 0.1 Sv.


Controllable Dose: A Discussion on the Control of Individual Doses from Single Sources.
A discussion paper by Roger H. Clarke

The Domenici File
Selected papers, press releases and speeches by Senator Pete Domenici on radiation issues.