OCR - P5: Radioactive materials

P5.2: How can radioactive materials be used safely?
Background to the topic What you should be able to do:

Ionising radiation can damage living cells and these may be killed or may become cancerous, so radioactive materials must be handled with care.

In particular, a radioactive material taken into the body (contamination) poses a higher risk than the same material outside as the material will continue to emit ionising radiation until it leaves the body.

Whilst ionising radiation can cause cancer, it can also be used for imaging inside the body and to kill cancerous cells.

Doctors and patients need to consider the risks and benefits when using ionising radiation to treat diseases.

1. Recall the differences in the penetration properties of alpha particles, beta particles and gamma rays

You should understand the risks and benefits of using electromagnetic radiations.

In your practical work you will:

Collect and interpret data to show the penetration properties of ionising radiations.

And you will:

Discuss ideas about correlation and cause in the context of links between ionising radiation and cancer

Discuss the uses of ionising radiation, with reference to its risks and benefits.

2. Recall the differences between contamination and irradiation effects and compare the hazards associated with each of these

3. Describe the different uses of nuclear radiations for exploration of internal organs, and for control or destruction of unwanted tissue

4. Explain how ionising radiation can have hazardous effects, notably on human bodily tissues

5. explain why the hazards associated with radioactive material differ according to the radiation emitted and the half-life involved