Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 4 (2), 260-72

Civilian Nuclear Incidents: An Overview of Historical, Medical, and Scientific Aspects

Affiliations

Civilian Nuclear Incidents: An Overview of Historical, Medical, and Scientific Aspects

Yuri Rojavin et al. J Emerg Trauma Shock.

Abstract

Given the increasing number of operational nuclear reactors worldwide, combined with the continued use of radioactive materials in both healthcare and industry, the unlikely occurrence of a civilian nuclear incident poses a small but real danger. This article provides an overview of the most important historical, medical, and scientific aspects associated with the most notable nuclear incidents to date. We have discussed fundamental principles of radiation monitoring, triage considerations, and the short- and long-term management of radiation exposure victims. The provision and maintenance of adequate radiation safety among first responders and emergency personnel are emphasized. Finally, an outline is included of decontamination, therapeutic, and prophylactic considerations pertaining to exposure to various radioactive materials.

Keywords: Civilian nuclear incident; radiation monitoring; radiation syndromes; radioactive exposure.

Conflict of interest statement

Conflict of Interest: None declared.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Different types of ionizing radiation can be characterized by their depth of penetration. Alpha and beta particles have the lowest penetration, while neutrons and gamma rays are capable of penetrating materials up to and including lead. The machine-generated x-rays, physically identical to gamma rays and thus not included in our discussion, have been added for illustrative purposes. [Modified from Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission Website. Available at: http://nuclearsafety.gc.ca/eng/readingroom/publications/gauges/index.cfm]

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 1 PubMed Central articles

References

    1. ENS. European Nuclear Society: Nuclear plants world-wide. 2011. [Last cited on 2011 April 11]. Available from: http://www.euronuclear.org/1-information/map-worldwide.htm .
    1. Keeney RL, von Winterfeldt D. Managing nuclear waste from power plants. Risk Anal. 1994;14:107–30.
    1. Gerber TC, Carr JJ, Arai AE, Dixon RL, Ferrari VA, Gomes AS, et al. Ionizing radiation in cardiac imaging: A science advisory from the American Heart Association Committee on Cardiac Imaging of the Council on Clinical Cardiology and Committee on Cardiovascular Imaging and Intervention of the Council on Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention. Circulation. 2009;119:1056–65. - PubMed
    1. Washington, DC: United States Environmental Protection Agency; 2007. EPA, United States Environmental Protection Agency: Ionizing radiation fact book.
    1. DOH WS. Washington State Department of Health: What is ionizing radiation? W.S.D.o. Health. 2003
Feedback