Nuclear Radiation

nuclear symbolQuestion:

What is nuclear radiation?


I need to define a few words before describing nuclear radiation.

nucleus The center of the atom containing nucleons.
nucleons Particles in the nuclei of atoms, including protons and neutrons.
protons Positively charged nucleons.
neutrons Nucleons without a charge.
electrons Negative charges outside the nucleus of an atom.
ions Atoms that have gained or lost electrons so that they become charged.
ionization The process of changing an atom to an ion.

Any change in  an atom’s nucleus is called a nuclear reaction. Nuclear radiation is the type of energy released during a nuclear reaction. There are three types of nuclear radiation: alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays.

Nuclear radiation is also called ionizing radiation. The damage of nuclear radiation to living things can be minor to deadly, depending on how many atoms are ionized  as well as where the ionized atoms are located in the organism.

Nuclear radiation also changes some non-living things  so that they are no longer useful. For example, some plastics become brittle and are easily broken.

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