The equivalent dose is a measure of the biological effect of radiation due to several factors. The factors to take into account are as follows:
The effect of different types of radiation on tissue varies. Some radiations (alpha particles) are more ionising than others (beta and gamma).
This is quantified by using a radiation weighting factor ( ).
|Radiation||Radiation weighting factor ( )|
Equivalent Dose ( ) is measured in Sieverts
Absorbed Dose ( ) is measured in Grays ( )
Radiation weighting factor does not have units.
The equivalent dose may be due to several types of radiation. Each type will have its own absorbed dose and radiation weighting factor. This means that the equivalent dose from each type of radiation can be added to give a total equivalent dose.
A worker in a nuclear power station receives the following radiations while working in 1 year:
of slow neutrons.
of gamma rays.
What is the total equivalent dose that the worker has absorbed?
Looking at the previous table, the radiation weighting factor for slow neutrons is 3 and for gamma rays is 1.
For slow neutrons:
For gamma rays:
The average annual effective dose equivalent received by a person in the UK due to natural sources is about .
This value increases significantly for those working with radioactive sources.