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What is Radiation from a Nuclear Blast?

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In my last article, I discussed the various aspects of radiation sickness, but haven’t yet defined just what radiation is. The quick definition of radiation is energy given off by unstable matter in the form of rays or high-speed particles. Some basic chemistry paraphrased from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (US NRC): All matter, including you, is composed of atoms. Atoms are made up of various parts; the central nucleus contains minute particles called protons and neutrons, and the atom’s outer shell contains other particles called electrons. The nucleus has a positive electrical charge, while the electrons has a negative electrical charge. Neutrons are, well, neutral. These entities work within the atom toward a stable balance by getting rid of excess atomic energy (called radioactivity). Unstable nuclei want to become stable, and may emit energy; this emission is what we call radiation.
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