How much radiation are you getting?

Mon, 2011-03-21 00:20 -- Reni Barlow

Hey all!

As this is my first post I guess I'll introduce myself a bit, and then get in to the good stuff! I'm a soon-to-be graduate of the University of Western Ontario's Althouse College with my Bachelor of Education. My teachables currently are Chemistry and General Science, but in the coming months and/or years I'll be getting teachables in Physics, Biology, Earth Science, and Math, so I guess you could call me a Science Enthusiast. It's a great attribute to have when you're also an internet junky and wannabe Blogger, which is what brings me to you! This summer I'll be doing a short stint in the United Kingdom to get my teaching career off the ground, so hopefully I’ll be able to shed some light on what education is like across the puddle while still bringing you the funny/interesting/weird science-related pages the internet has to offer!

To break the bottle at the maiden voyage ceremony I thought I’d give everyone a quick taste of my favourite web comic author and former NASA roboticist, Randall Munroe, the author of xkcd ( Munroe I suppose it was due to recent disaster that struck Japan, but Munroe has created this handy chart to illustrate the dose of radiation a person can absorb from different sources such as other nuclear disasters, medical scans, and natural radiation.


I found this to actually be quite shocking in how little radiation the average person is actually absorbing in their day-to-day activities, but the most surprising thing is how much radiation there actually was from Chernobyl! If you combine all of the blue, green, and orange dots in the chart, that is how much radiation you would absorb if you were right next to the Chernobyl reactor core after the meltdown!

I guess the message to take away from this is if you know someone living near a nuclear power plant, or you’re concerned about how much radiation you’re getting from laying out in the sun, remember that in the grand scheme of things it’s not that much (but you should still wear sun screen!)


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Submitted by Mike Newnham on

Hi James

Thanks for your post, the infographic is very informative and underscores how much hype the media is giving radiation exposure. If anything, it should make the reader pause and consider any x-ray procedure before undergoing them.

Submitted by Mike Newnham on

Hi James. 

Thanks for sharing!  So i think I will add this image to my lesson on nuclear reactors. Very timely. Hmmmmm...maybe a SS lesson is gonna come out of it.  Good luck in the UK. 

Dan Bruni