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Radiation Questions and Answers

Q) Is radiation something that I need to worry about?

A) We are exposed to low levels of radiation every day. Radiation is used in many ways—in radar and x-rays—and is also emitted by things like television and computer screens. Radiation treatments are used in medicine to help cure patients with some kinds of cancer. We also receive radiation as part of natural sunlight.

High doses of radiation can be very dangerous. High doses of radiation can cause diseases such as cancer. Birth defects can occur in children born to people who are exposed to high doses. That is why safety issues for employees and people who live near nuclear power plants are taken so seriously.

Q) How much radiation do I receive from nuclear power plants?

A) Although it is not possible to run a nuclear power plant without some release of radioactivity, you might be surprised to learn just how little exposure this produces for the average American.

Today, a person in the U. S. receives an average exposure to radiation of about 360 millirems per year. Most of this comes from the natural radiation in soil, water, rocks, building materials and even food.

Radiation exposure from all commercial nuclear energy power plants has averaged only 0.01 millirem per person each year—1/36,000th of the total average radiation each American receives. If you live near a nuclear power plant, you will receive less than five millirems of radiation per year.

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