United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission - Protecting People and the Environment
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Radiation source

A radioactive material or byproduct that is specifically manufactured or obtained for the purpose of using the emitted radiation. Such sources are commonly used in teletherapy or industrial radiography; in various types of industrial gauges, irradiators, and gamma knives; and as power sources for batteries (such as those used in spacecraft). These sources usually consist of a known quantity of radioactive material, which is encased in a manmade capsule, sealed between layers of nonradioactive material, or firmly bonded to a nonradioactive substrate to prevent radiation leakage. Other radiation sources include devices such as accelerators and x-ray generators.

Page Last Reviewed/Updated Monday, June 22, 2020