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How is nuclear radiation different in an X-Ray Machine than a Nuclear Bomb?

I heard that X-Ray devices use nuclear radiation and I also read that nuclear bombs also use nuclear radiation.
So, what is the difference between the nuclear radiation in the two devices?

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8 Responses to “How is nuclear radiation different in an X-Ray Machine than a Nuclear Bomb?”

  1. aquarius said:

    nuclear radiation used in x-rays are in correct content than in nuclear bomb which have greater amounts on nuclear content in it.

  2. Martin M said:

    there are a couple types of ionizing radiation, that is radiation that can ionize molecules in your body by kicking electrons off them. When this happens the molecules become highly reactive and cause damage.

    Alpha particle – atom decays and releases He-4 nuclei carrying a 2+ charge, very ionizing but cannot penetrate dead skin and is only dangerous if inhaled (radon).

    Beta – atom decays and emits positrons and electrons from the nucleus, here a proton in the nucleus of an atom turns into a neutron and releases a positron or a neutron turns into an proton releasing an electron.

    Neutron – particles that can cause nuclear reactions when absorbed by a nuclei or ionize molecules.

    Gamma – high energy light, emitted when a nuclei relaxes from an excited state such as after a nuclear reaction.

    X-ray – also high energy light, emitted when an electron drops energy levels to fill an electron hole created by ionizing radiation or some other mechanism or when a high energy electron slows down (beta = high energy electron)

    When a nuclear bomb explodes all of these types of radiation are released. When you get an x-ray only x-rays are released. In an x-ray machine electrons are accelerated toward large nuclei and as they approach the large atoms they slow rapidly and x-rays are emitted.

  3. I-malaysian said:

    To put it simply and I guess you are not expecting an elaborate and technical answer:

    x-ray machine – low energy, will not cause bad damage to DNA, use electricity to produce x-ray

    nuclear bomb – high energy, cause very bad damage to tissue (even kills), use radionuclide (e.g plutonium).

    Hope this succinct answer satisfies you.

  4. leveretth said:

    The radiation a nuclear bomb releases are charged particles and photons.

    The charged particles are: Alpha particles, Beta Particles, and Neutrons.

    The photons are: Gamma Rays, X-Rays, and Ultraviolet Rays (commonly called UV). Gamma Rays are much more powerful and damaging than X-Rays. X-Rays can cause damage to DNA, but it takes a lot more of them to do the same damage that Gamma Rays can do. Ultraviolet rays can damage DNA as well, but it takes even more UV Rays to cause damage, and that typically only happens to our skin and other exposed tissue such as our eyes.

    Visible light is made up of photons as well, but the energy in each visible light photon is too weak to cause damage. Even some photons within the visible light range have more energy than other photons within that same visible light range. For instance, a green photon has more energy than a red photon. Except for their respective amounts of energy, (which translates to the color we see them as) they are identical. UV, X-Ray, and Gamma radiation are all just photons – each having more energy per photon than the last.

    X-Ray machines use electronics to produce an even, predictable flow of X-Rays. A typical X-Ray from a nuclear detonation would be essentially the same as a typical X-Ray produced by an X-Ray machine.

  5. Zara Sumar said:

    An X-Ray machine uses a source that emits x-rays when hit with an electron. These x-rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation which is similar to light or radio waves, but with shorter wavelengths. Overall, the amount of dose a person receives from an x-ray is much less than what they would receive from natural radiation coming from the earths crust or cosmic radiation.

    A nuclear weapon uses materials that release much more energy than what is being produced from an x-ray. Essentially, there is an extremely fast chain reaction of nuclei being split that creates an explosion of energy. That energy being released is typically in the form of gamma radiation which, while similar to x-rays, is a different type of radiation.

    Overall, there are different type of interactions of atoms that produce different radiation. An x-ray machine produces a very low dose of radiation, while a nuclear weapon would produce orders of magnitude higher radiation.

    There are several good websites to find more information about the different types of radiation. I’ll include one particular one from the International Atomic Energy Agency.

  6. Five Knot said:

    An x-ray machine does not give off nuclear radiation, rather it gives off what could be described as very, very high frequency light. This is known as radiation because of the way it moves through space in straight lines. Nuclear radiation is bits of really unstable atoms that decay and shoot off particles, such as electronless helium nuclei and extra protons, etc. When this happens, the element changes identity and a very dangerous particle is formed which can slam into your DNA and cause mutations or burns.

  7. withey181 said:

    a very impossible senario but if a person were to survive the blast front of a nuclear reaction would they be able to see the xray of their body in the process??

  8. Michael said:

    So if a 1/8″ lead sheet is used to protect you during and x-ray, how thick should the lead walls of a structure be thats designed to protect you from a nuclear blast?


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