Army Radiation Protection and Safety


Nuclear warfare has changed the way the entire world sees war and violence. The Second World War brought the immediate damaging effects of nuclear war to the forefront for the first time and revealed how devastating the long term effects could be. For military personnel, radiation is not a new hazard that they are dealing with. Over 200,000 service members were participants in the testing of nuclear warfare equipment in the United States in the period between 1945 and 1963.

Protecting Soldiers

Many countries have been trying to establish laws and measures that will protect soldiers both during wartime and peacetime. Maintaining exposure records and regular screening tests can help soldiers feel protected. Using ideas from the Allied Command Europe (ACE) Directive (NATO, 1996) can also be seen as a viable option.

The ACE Directive (NATO, 1996) provides a general guideline about carrying out army operations in the presence of radiation. In an ideal situation, soldiers should be able to avoid unnecessary radiation exposure. If it cannot be avoided under any circumstances, it is best to minimize exposure doses whenever possible.

Using Radiation Detectors

When working with radiations, it is ideal to remain vigilant and carry radiation detectors for protection. It is important to be aware of the level of radiation around so that necessary precautions can be taken accordingly. Soldiers can benefit tremendously from using radiation detectors since they will remain alert to the danger that might befall them. 

There are various types of radiation detectors that do the job well, but all of them come with their own benefits. The army can use radioactivity detectors for measurement, protection, and search. If they are already aware that there is a chance of being around radioactive materials, they can use the equipment to monitor and establish the radioactive field. Once they understand the boundaries of the radiation and its area of contamination, they can make an effort to avoid it. With radiation being used more and more in warfare every day, it is important to be equipped to deal with any situation. Army radiation detectors should have high measurement ranges.

Another way to go about this is to monitor the soldiers and check if they have been exposed. Radiation badges can help inform the soldiers early on about their condition, so they can avoid the more harmful effects of radiation exposure down the road.

If the soldiers are not in a position where nuclear warfare is an immediate reality, it still does not hurt to remain vigilant. A radiation search can help identify risky situations.

Is exposure always dangerous?

Risk from exposure to nuclear substances will depend on:

  • Energy of the radiation
  • Type of radiation
  • Frequency of radiation emission
  • External or internal exposure
  • The rate of metabolization after intake of nuclear fumes
  • How the substance stays in the body and for how long.

External exposure is when the radioactive source remains outside the body, but the radiation passes through. On the other hand, internal exposure is when radioactive materials enter the body through inhalation.

Diseases caused by radiation exposure

Radiation exposure can cause long-term damage that can harm many generations to follow. Research about radiation exposure is still ongoing, and there is a lot more to discover. Some of the diseases caused by radiation exposure include:

  • Cancers of all kinds
  • Lymphomas
  • Parathyroid adenoma
  • Leukemia
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Posterior subcapsular cataracts
  • Brain tumors
  • Tumors in the central nervous system.

Soldiers who can establish a link between their disease and radiation exposure during their serving duration are eligible to receive compensation on a case by case basis.

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