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Designing Radiation Shielding for NDT

Radiation protection is an important concern across a wide range of industries from healthcare and medical imaging to nuclear energy and nuclear medicine, and especially in the field of nondestructive testing (NDT). Considering all the factors and the different types of materials to choose from, much consideration should go into finding the most effective solutions to specific shielding needs. ALARA (“as low as reasonably achievable”) is a principle that strives to minimize the exposure of ionizing radiation to people and the environment while considering economics, technology, and social factors. When using radiography to inspect welds, materials, or manufactured parts, high-energy sources like cobalt 60 (Co-60) or iridium 192 (Ir-192) are often used as well as lower-energy X-rays. ALARA needs to be considered over the lifetime of the source, not just when performing radiography analysis. This includes potential maintenance, transportation, and decommissioning at the end of the lifetime of the source. The three principles of ALARA to reduce dose to workers are time, distance, and shielding. Time and distance are two factors that can be greatly limited by the facility where the testing is taking place, setup procedures, and monitoring procedures during the test. Therefore, shielding becomes the most important factor to control and modify in order to maximize safety and limit radiation exposure.


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