- Acute radiation effects
Effects that are caused by (usually short-term) exposure to radiation and that
occur immediately after the exposure.
- Acute radiation syndrome (ARS)
Serious illness that occurs when the body receives a high dose of penetrating
radiation (that is, able to reach
internal organs) over a short period of time (usually minutes).
Americium is a silvery metal and a completely man-made
element whose 6 known isotopes are
Americium-241, the most common isotope, is formed spontaneously by the decay
of plutonium-241 and has a half-life of 430 years.
- Belgian Science Policy
"The Belgian Federal Science Policy Office has the following mission:
- preparation, execution and evaluation of science policy and its extensions
- in particular, on Belgian Government instructions, implementation of scientific and technical means in support of Federal Authority competences
- development of a permanent knowledge resource within scientific and technical spheres at the service of the Federal Authority.
- in addition, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Science policy agreed in January 2002 to charge the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office with the question of the cultural goods of the Jewish Community plundered during the war."
Bioaccumulation is used to describe the increase in concentration of a
substance in an organism over time.
Bioaccumulative substances tend to be fat
soluble and not to be broken down by the
(Source: GreenFacts )
Biodiversity is a contraction of biological diversity. Biodiversity reflects
the number, variety and variability of living organisms.
It includes diversity within species
(genetic diversity), between species
(species diversity), and between ecosystems
Caesium is one of the radioactive fission
products created within a nuclear reactor during its operation.
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
"The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) is a Canadian federal government agency based in Hamilton, Ontario, which serves to support the vision of eliminating all Canadian work-related illnesses and injuries."
"The mandate of CCOHS is to promote improvements in occupational health and safety by providing practical information to answer workplace concerns."
(Source: CCOHS website )
Any one of a group of diseases that occur when
cells in the body become abnormal and have
the potential to spread and establish growth in nearby
tissues and other parts of the body
(Source: GreenFacts )
A clouding of the natural lens of the eye most frequently caused by ageing
that can severely blur vision.
- Circulatory system
The system that contains the heart and the blood vessels and moves blood
throughout the body. This system helps
tissues get enough oxygen and nutrients, and
it helps them get rid of waste products. The lymph system, which connects with
the blood system, is often considered part of the circulatory system.
Dictionary of cancer
- Development Gateway Foundation
"The Development Gateway Foundation is an enabler of development. We help improve people’s lives in developing countries by building partnerships and information systems that provide access to knowledge for development.
We exploit powerful and affordable information and communication technologies (ICT) that were previously unavailable to:
Increase knowledge sharing;The Development Gateway is an independent not-for-profit organization. It was conceived by World Bank President James Wolfensohn and initially developed in the World Bank. Operations began in July 2001."
Enhance development effectiveness;
Improve public sector transparency; and
Build local capacity to empower communities.
The Development Gateway is an independent not-for-profit organization. It was conceived by World Bank President James Wolfensohn and initially developed in the World Bank. Operations began in July 2001."
(Source: DGF website )
The complex system of plant, animal, fungal, and microorganism
communities and their associated non-living
environment interacting as an ecological unit.
Ecosystems have no fixed boundaries; instead their parameters are set to the
scientific, management, or policy question being examined. Depending upon the
purpose of analysis, a single lake, a
watershed, or an entire region could be
considered an ecosystem.
Glossary of Climate Change Terms
- Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy
"Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy (EFN) is an independent environmental, non-profit organization which aims at :
- providing complete and straightforward information to the public on energy and the environment
- promoting the benefits of nuclear energy for a cleaner world
- uniting people in favor of clean nuclear energy"
- Epidemiological studies
Studies on human populations, which attempt to link human health effects (e.g.
cancer) to a cause (e.g. exposure to a specific chemical).
EurActiv is the leading internet portal fully dedicated to European public affairs.
It brings together daily EU news, weekly "Update" e-mails, in-depth analysis of selected policy topics, and a directory of 10,000 names of names of people and organizations acting on the EU level, the "Guide". All content is free of charge.
EurActiv aims to "facilitate efficiency and transparency (...) by providing news monitoring, policy positions, discussion forums and contacts on selected EU affairs topics, complementing the existing institutional websites."
(Source: EurActiv website )
- Exclusion Zone (in Chernobyl)
The exclusion Zone refers to the area extending up to 30 km in all directions around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant that was most contaminated by the accident.
After the accident, its population was evacuated and all agricultural and industrial activities were suspended.
(Source: GreenFacts, based on the GreenFacts Digest on Chernobyl )
Contact of the cells of an organism with
a substance, micro-organism or
radiation. In the case of humans, this may involve contact with a
substance or agent by swallowing, breathing, or through the skin or eyes.
Exposure may be short-term [acute exposure],
of intermediate duration, or long-term
Exposure can be divided into external and internal.
External exposure refers to the whole dose to which an
organism is exposed.
Internal exposure refers only to that fraction of the initial
chemical dose that is absorbed and distributed throughout the body via systemic
The ability of people or animals to produce healthy offspring in abundance.
Unlike fecundity, which measures a
potential ability, fertility measures the actual number of offspring of an
individual, a couple, a group or a population. It is evaluated by the time
to achieve pregnancy.
Please note that "fertility" corresponds to "fécondité" in French and
"fecundidad" in Spanish whereas the French word "fertilité" and the Spanish word
"fertilidad" mean "fecundity".
- Food web
The interconnected food chains (feeding relationships) in an ecosystem.
Plants, herbivores, and carnivores all form parts of the food web.
Water that is not salty, for instance water found in lakes, streams, and
rivers, but not the ocean. Also used to refer to things living in or related to
freshwater (e.g., "freshwater fish").
The functional and physical unit of heredity passed from parent to offspring.
Genes are pieces of DNA, and most genes contain the information for making a
Talking Glossary of Genetic
"Greenpeace is the leading independent campaigning organization that uses non-violent direct action and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and to promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future."
Greenpeace currently focusses on eight projects :
- Stop climate change
- Protect ancient forests
- Save the oceans
- Stop whaling
- Say no to genetic engineering
- Stop the nuclear threat
- Eliminate toxic chemicals
- Encourage sustainable trade
- Half life
The term which is used for the time required for the amount of a particular
substance to be reduced to one half of its value when the rate of decay is
Radioactive half-life refers to the decay of radioactive substances.
Iodine-131, for instance, has a half-life of 8 days whereas that of
Plutonium-239 is more than 23 000 years.
Biological half-life refers to decay by biological processes. Substances with
a long biological half-life will tend to accumulate in the body and are,
therefore, particularly to be avoided. Substances with a short biological
half-life may accumulate if some becomes tightly bound, even if most is cleared
from the body rapidly. There is also the possibility of cumulative effects of
chemicals which have a short residence time in the body.
"The innovations-report is a modern forum for Science, Industry and Business for the advancement of innovation dynamics as well as the production of new contacts for a more intensive use of the existing innovation and performance potential.
In more than 2,000 reports every year, the innovations-report offers current information on new technologies, highly interesting research and development results, innovative products and services, and lots more."
(Source: IR website )
- International Atomic Energy Agency
"The IAEA is the world´s center of cooperation in the nuclear field. It was set up as the world´s "Atoms for Peace" organization in 1957 within the United Nations family. The Agency works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote safe, secure and peaceful nuclear technologies."
(Source: IAEA website )
Iodine is a trace element that is necessary for the body to produce the
It is a bluish-black, lustrous nonmetallic solid element that mainly occurs in
nature under its stable form, iodine-127. Stable iodine is naturally present for
instance in seaweeds, sponges, and shell fish. It is also artificially added to
- Iodine tablets
Stable (non-radioactive) iodine tablets are an established countermeasure to accidents at nuclear installations that result in the release of radioactive iodine.
The tablets saturate the thyroid gland with stable iodine in order to prevent it from accumulating radioactive iodine, hence reducing the risk of thyroid cancer.
Atoms of the same element that have the same number of protons (same atomic
number) but different numbers of neutrons (different atomic masses).
Isotopes have the same chemical properties but have different physical and
Examples of isotopes are plutonium-238, plutonium-239, plutonium-240, and
plutonium-241. Each acts chemically like plutonium but they have 144, 145, 146,
and 147 neutrons, respectively.
Leukaemia is a cancer that starts in
blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow, which makes blood cells (red blood
cells that carry oxygen around the body, white blood cells that fight disease
and infection, platelets that help to stop bleeding when it starts).
In people with leukaemia, the bone marrow produces large numbers of abnormal
white blood cells and not enough normal red blood cells.
Leukaemia cases represent less than 4% of all cancer cases in adults but are
the most common form of cancer in children.
different types of leukaemia
(e.g. acute, chornic, myeloid and lymphoid leukaemia).
(Source: GreenFacts )
- Life expectancy
The number of years that a person could expect to live on average, based on
the mortality rates of the population in a given year.
Life expectancy can change over the lifecycle. For example, at birth a person
may be expected to live for 75 years, but if they survive to 75 they may be
expected to live for another 10 years.
(Source: New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development Population &
- Medical abortion
The deliberate termination of a human pregnancy through medical intervention.
(Source: GreenFacts )
Death. Usually the cause (a specific disease, a condition, or an injury) is
Glossary of Terms
Plutonium is a heavy, man-made, radioactive metallic element. The most
important isotope is Pu-239, which has a half-life of 24 000
years. Pu-239 can be used in reactor fuel and is the primary isotope in nuclear
In the context of Chernobyl, an important radioisotope of Plutonium is
Pu-241, which has a half-life of 14.4 years and decays into
A group or number of people living within a specified area or sharing similar
characteristics (such as occupation or age).
- Post-traumatic stress
A psychological reaction that occurs after experiencing a highly stressing
event (as wartime combat, physical violence, or a natural disaster) outside the
range of normal human experience and that is usually characterized by
depression, anxiety, flashbacks, recurrent nightmares, and avoidance of
reminders of the event.
- Pregnancy outcomes
Results of conception and ensuing pregnancy, such as sex ratio, birth weight,
spontaneous abortion, congenital malformations, lower birth weight, preterm
delivery or stillbirth.
Energy moving in the form of particles or waves. Familiar radiations are heat,
light, radio waves, and microwaves. Ionizing radiation is a
very high-energy form of electromagnetic radiation.
US Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Glossary of Radiological Terms
- Radioactive decay
The decrease in the [radiation intensity] of any radioactive material with the
passage of time due to the spontaneous emission of radiation from an atomic
(Source: University of Harvard Environmental Health & Safety
- Radioactive material
Material that contains unstable (radioactive) atoms that give off [ionizing]
radiation as they decay.
Glossary of Radiological Terms
- Radioactive waste
Any waste that emits energy as rays, waves, streams or energetic particles.
Radioactive materials are often mixed with hazardous waste, from nuclear
reactors, research institutions, or hospitals.
US EPA Terms of Environment
The spontaneous emission of ionizing radiation from the nucleus of an unstable
atom. Radioisotopes lose particles and energy through this process.
(Source: GreenFacts, based on Energy Information Administration
- Solid cancer
Solid cancers are defined as abnormal cellular growths in "solid" organs such
as the breast or prostate, as opposed to leukemia, a cancer affecting the blood,
which is liquid.
Strontium-90 is one of the radioactive fission materials created within a
nuclear reactor during its operation. It remains radioactive for a long period
of time and can contaminate property, requiring extensive cleanup. Since
strontium can be absorbed into the food chain, it also poses a potential
Strontium-90 has a half-life of over 28 years.
- Subjective health
Subjective health refers to how individuals evaluate their own health status.
People with subjective poor health are those who perceive themselves as ill.
(Source: GreenFacts )
- Thyroid gland
The thyroid gland consists of two bodies like small walnuts; they are
connected by an isthmus beside the larynx (voice box). The thyroid gland
produces thyroid hormones T3 and T4 which
regulate the metabolism of all cells in the
body. Disorders of the thyroid gland are characterized by the inability to
produce or release sufficient thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism) or the
overactivity of the thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism).
- UN Chernobyl Forum
'Chernobyl Forum' is the name of a group of UN agencies, founded by the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency), that is working to give people in the villages affected by the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident greater certainty, by issuing factual, authoritative statements on the health effects caused by radiation exposure from the reactor explosion and its environmental consequences.
The UN organizations involved in the Forum include:
- the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)
- the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization)
- the OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)
- the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme)
- the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme)
- the UNSCEAR (United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation)
- the WHO (World Health Organization)
- the World Bank.
The Forum also comprises the governments of Belarus, Russia and the Ukraine.
(Source: Chernobyl Forum website )
- United Nations Development Programme
"UNDP is the UN's global development network, an organization advocating for
change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help
people build a better life. We are on the ground in 166 countries, working with
them on their own solutions to global and national development challenges. As
they develop local capacity, they draw on the people of UNDP and our wide range
- United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation
"UNSCEAR was established by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1955. Its mandate in the United Nations system is to assess and report levels and effects of exposure to ionizing radiation. Governments and organizations throughout the world rely on the Committee's estimates as the scientific basis for evaluating radiation risk and for establishing protective measures."
(Source: UNSCEAR website )
- US Environment Protection Agency
The Environment Protection Agency's of the USA was founded in 1970. It's
"mission is to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment —
air, water, and land — upon which life depends."
The EPA enforces federal environmental protection laws. It registers and
regulates pesticides, enforces laws covering outdoor air and drinking water
quality and regulates the disposal of hazardous and solid wastes.
It has now grown into a big and powerful administration: "18,000 people in
Headquarters program offices, 10 regional offices, and 17 labs across the
country, EPA employs a highly educated, technically trained staff, more than
half of whom are engineers, scientists, and environmental protection
specialists. A large number of employees are legal, public affairs, financial,
and computer specialists."
U.S. EPA's scientific publications are widely recognized as reference
US EPA website
- Vulnerability (in health science)
The likelihood of being unusually severely affected by a substance either as a
result of susceptibility to the effects of these substances or as a result of a
greater than average [exposure].
Answers to follow-up questions from
- World Health Organization
"The World Health Organization
(WHO) is the directing and coordinating authority on
international health within the United Nations’ system. WHO experts produce
health guidelines and standards, and help countries to address public health
issues. WHO also supports and promotes health research. Through WHO, governments
can jointly tackle global health problems and improve people’s well-being.
193 countries and two associate members are WHO’s membership. They meet every
year at the World Health Assembly in Geneva to set policy for the Organization,
approve the Organization’s budget, and every five years, to appoint the
Director-General. Their work is supported by the 34-member Executive Board,
which is elected by the Health Assembly. Six regional committees focus on health
matters of a regional nature."
WHO's scientific publications are widely recognized as a reference source.
The WHO has a number of regional offices which address the specific issues of