In case of accidents at radiation-hazardous objects, the following damaging factors of a radiation nature may occur :
radioactive contamination of the area.
Penetrating radiation (ionizing radiation) is a great danger to human health and life .
Ionizing radiation includes :
alpha radiation, consisting of alpha particles;
beta radiation – a stream of electrons or positrons;
· gamma radiation, photon (electromagnetic) radiation, by its nature and properties does not differ from x-rays.
Alpha radiation has the highest ionizing power, but its energy decreases rapidly, so it does not pose a danger to humans until substances emitting alpha particles enter the body.
Beta radiation is less ionizing and more penetrating. When radioactive substances get on the skin and inside the body, beta radiation is dangerous for humans.
Gamma radiation , with its relatively low ionizing activity, poses a great danger due to its very high penetrating power.
The most typical for radiation situations arising from accidents at nuclear power plants is the combined radiation effect caused by external (uniform or uneven) beta-, gamma-irradiation and internal radioactive contamination.
A measure of the damaging effect of ionizing radiation is the dose of these radiations . The degree of adverse effects of radiation is measured in rems . The absorbed dose of radiation is measured in grays, rads .
The assessment of the levels of ionizing radiation in a radioactively contaminated area is carried out according to the exposure dose rate and is measured in roentgens (milliroentgens) per hour.
Radioactive contamination of the area occurs when radioactive elements fall on the earth’s surface and surrounding objects.
In addition to the above radiation damaging factors affecting the human body in the accident zone, it is affected by non-radiation damaging factors :
a powerful electromagnetic impulse;
Acute or chronic psycho-emotional overload;
· Violations of the habitual stereotype of life, regimen and nature of nutrition during prolonged forced stay (residence) in a radioactively contaminated area.
The explosion of a nuclear facility produces a shock wave , which can throw a person back and hit them against solid objects. Collapsing buildings and flying fragments of buildings cause mechanical injuries (bone fractures, bruises, cuts).
The explosion releases a huge amount of light and heat energy , which causes skin burns in humans.
integument and respiratory tract of varying severity.
An electromagnetic pulse can damage various electrical appliances and other equipment.
Non-radiation factors always, to one degree or another, affect the body that finds itself in an emergency.
The lower the dose of radiation, the more the effects of non-radiation factors are manifested in the picture of the disease.
They cause changes in the functional state of various organs and systems, which ultimately determine the body’s response, manifested by the symptom complex of a particular disease.
They reduce the body’s resistance to radiation (mutual burden syndrome).
As an etiological factor of a number of pathological conditions, non-radiation effects are of particular importance in people who are forced to live for a long time in areas contaminated with radioactive substances (even within acceptable levels).
Such a non-radiation factor in these cases is a chronic psycho-traumatic effect , due to the loss of social ties, awareness of the uncertainty of the consequences, and economic dependence.
Chronic psychotrauma causes a number of very stable and pronounced disorders in the body, primarily the functional state of general regulatory systems, causing the development of asthenia, vegetative instability, neurocirculatory dystonia, and changes in the immune system.
These changes are recorded and amplified if they are incorrectly assessed, especially by medical personnel.