Protecting people from the harmful effects of radiation has always been a major priority for organisations that handle nuclear materials and procedures – even more so following major events like the Chernobyl disaster and the recent earthquake in Japan, which caused an emergency situation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.
Essentially, radiation protection practitioners are expert consultants that work to make sure that the environment and people are kept safe from the damaging effects of radiation.
Radiation protection practitioners are employed by organisations to measure and monitor levels of radiation (ionised and non-ionised) and provide expert advice on complying with statutory and regulatory requirements relating to radiation safety.
These guys also offer guidance on the minimisation of risk, the emergency procedures required in the event of nuclear ‘incidents’, and the design of reactors, nuclear facilities and devices which use radiation, such as X-rays.
If you enter this profession, you could be developing and using your expert knowledge in different kinds of radiation. For instance, you could focus your consultancy services on ionised radiation, i.e. processes and activities involving X-rays, hazardous nuclear material and radioactive waste.
Alternatively, you could specialise in providing advice about the risks of non-ionised radiation, including radiation emitted by mobile communication devices, lasers and detection equipment such as radars.
Radiation protection practitioners are employed in the energy, medical, manufacturing, defence and research and development sectors. Furthermore, they might work for governmental organisations, regulatory authorities and higher education institutions.
If you enter this profession, you’ll be using state-of-the-art equipment to monitor, measure and record radiation levels, making environmental impact assessments, recording your findings, writing reports and providing expert guidance to your clients on safety procedures and protocols for handling radioactive materials.
You’ll also play an integral role in helping organisations to develop and improve their policies and guidelines on the use of radiation and nuclear materials. Furthermore, you might be working directly with employees of the organisation that use radioactive materials in order to improve their awareness of the issues surrounding radiation.
You may also be required to offer advice to engineers on the construction of buildings and the design and development of radioactive devices and solutions.