Radiation protection specialists are involved in the protection of human beings and the environment against the dangerous effects of radiation and radioactive matter. Modern society is therefore assured of maximum benefit from the use of nuclear technology and other radiation technology.
Ionising radiation is generally used in industry, medicine, research and other fields. South Africa is one of the world’s main producers of uranium which is used for the generation of electricity in nuclear power stations. There is an increasing need for protection from radiation and control over radiation supplies in these fields of application. The radiation protection specialist can specialise in the following fields:
Industrial radiation protection: These radiation protection specialists advise management of organisations on the utilisation of radiation and assist personnel during radiation work. They are, amongst other things, involved in the design and planning of new facilities and construction and also develop radiation protection programmes.
Environmental studies: These radiation protection specialists determine the level of radioactive pollution and radiation in the environment and also study the influence of nuclear energy on human beings and the environment.
They must also monitor the long-term effects of radiation.
Research: Research projects can involve various disciplines but will always be directed at the acquisition of knowledge and the solution of specific protection problems or the development of new techniques. An example of research subjects would be the interaction between various types of radiation and matter, and measurement techniques.
Regulative control: Here radiation protection specialists must ensure that the legal requirements regarding the utilisation, application and control of radiation, as well as the protection against radiation and the design of plants such as nuclear power stations, are met.