Postgraduate Course in Radiation Protection

The code, name and a short description of each module are given below.

[Phys 520] Fundamental Physics, Mathematics, Statistics and Biology (Pre-Course Module)

This module covers mathematics that is relevant to radiation protection, classical and modern physics, statistical techniques used in radiation protection, basic effects of ionising radiation on the human body, the different types of radiation and radioactive particles that are encountered in radiation protection.

[Phys 509] Interaction of Radiation with Matter

This is one of the core modules that students need to understand. It is the foundation upon which radiation protection is based and can be used as a spring board into different RP related courses. Included are: fundamental properties associated with uncharged radiation and how these affect its interaction with other matter, how charged radiation interacts with matter, quantities and units used in Radiation Protection, tissue weighting factors, radiation weighting factors, detection and measurement of radiation by: gases, scintillators, PHA, PSD, thermo-luminescent dosimeters (TLD's), track etch, photographic emulsions, and neutron detectors.

Students will visit the National Metrology Laboratories at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, and the National Dosimetry Service at the South African Bureau of Standards, to reinforce lecture topics.

[Phys 510] Biological Effects of Ionising Radiation

Radiation affects biological systems in various ways and this module explores these effects on the human body at both a microscopic and macroscopic level. It develops an understanding of how damage is done to a body, the ways in which this damage can be manifest, the effects of differing levels of exposure on a body, the concept of biological dosimetry and how it can be used to estimate doses received by examining cellular damage. It also examines the relationship between the absorbed dose and morbidity, gained from case histories, and the relationship between dose and its effects in the context of the need to quantify risk. The importance of a deep understanding of radiobiology is emphasized.

[PHYS 511] Radiation Dose Assessment

This module deals with the assessment of the actual dose absorbed in tissue. It seeks to answer the question of how much energy is absorbed as a result of the radiation field. It also examines how this can be determined in practice and how the results of monitoring are interpreted to estimate this.

Topics include:

Internal Dose Assessment - the mathematical models used to calculate internal doses, modes of intake, biokinetic model applicable to wound contamination, calculation of doses, equivalent and effective doses, monitoring of internal contamination, dose estimations according to ICRP and MIRD, doses to the embryo and foetus, ICRP dose coefficients for prospective radiation protection purposes and reliability of dose coefficients for retrospective internal dosimetry

External Dose Assessment - radiation dose assessment, dosimetric quantities, measurement and monitoring programmes used to measure external doses, individual monitoring for external dose, and general requirements for practices.

[Phys 512] Occupational Radiation Protection

An important part of radiation protection is the integration of technical with organisational and practical considerations. This appears very clearly in the question of the protection of workers whose jobs take them into radiation fields. The ways in which these elements interact together with proper design of facilities are treated in this module. The question of risk assessment, potential exposures and safety issues are treated in detail. The question of monitoring to establish doses under sometimes difficult circumstances is also examined. Students will develop an understanding of the implemention and organisation of a radiation protection programme at a nuclear installation; the reason for the development of different approaches to RP in different circumstances; the development of site specific rules and emergency plans.

Topics include:

occupational exposure from natural sources of radiation with special reference to the mining industry; organisation and management of occupational exposure in industrial radiography and the university environment; safety in the design, construction and operation of a gamma irradiator; programme for OE control in the operation of a gamma irradiator; methods of protection; facility design, emergency planning and procedures; design basis and strategies for occupational RP control.

A visit to the Koeberg Nuclear Power Station and a survey of a redundant U-Plant reinforce the theory of this module.

[PHYS 513] Public Exposure from Radiation Practices - Principles of Environmental Protection & Waste Management

This module explores the following: sources and types of radioactive waste; principles of radioactive waste management; waste categorisation; pre-disposal management of radioactive waste; clearance and storage; disposal of radioactive waste; waste management technologies (for research facilities, hospitals, mines and reactors); principles involved in the packaging, physical protection and safe transport of radioactive waste and material; safety standards for radioactive waste; modalities and routes of public exposure (natural and artificial sources) and how these exposures can be limited and controlled; measurement of radioactive material in the environment; and consumer products containing radioactive material.

[PHYS 514] Medical Physics (Exposures in Medical Practices)

One of the most important areas where the deliberate use of radiation has brought enormous benefits is in medical diagnostics and therapy. In this area it is of the greatest importance to understand how the extremely strong sources in use can be managed effectively and the doses to personnel and unwanted doses to patients can be minimised.

This module deals with: principles and problems of radiation protection as applied in the medical situation; different uses of sources and the consequences; medical exposure control; the justification of diagnostic radiology, radiotherapy and nuclear medicine; optimisation of medical exposures; operational considerations;constraints and reference levels for patients; design considerations for equipment (international standards, IEC and ISO); determination of dose in medical exposure; calibration of sources; quality assurance and record keeping in the control of medical exposures, diagnostic radiology, radiotherapy and nuclear medicine.

[PHYS 515] Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety

When nuclear reactors are used for research or power generation, a number of specific issues in Radiation Protection are raised. These include the concept of multiple safety systems, defence in depth and off-site emergency planning. This module concentrates on potential exposure (concepts and assessments); criticality safety; case studies of major reactor accidents; risk assessment; accident analysis methodology (deterministic and probabilistic); regulatory control - enabling legislation and the regulatory system; notification, authorisation and safety assessment; regulatory inspections; compliance monitoring – enforcement, investigation and feedback; development of a national programme for RP training.

[PHYS 516] General Approaches to Radiation Protection and Regulatory Control

This module covers the philosophical basis of radiation protection, implementation of radiation protection programmes regulatory control. It deals with the concept of detriment; differing exposure situations - differences between practices and interventions and the implications this has for radiation protection; normal and potential exposures; occupational, medical and public exposures; the system of radiation protection - application to practices, intervention and chronic exposure situations, controlled activities, removal of control and emergency planning.