Lv 4
George asked in Science & MathematicsPhysics · 1 week ago

Is high rediation fatal?


I mean can it kill you instantly? Can it kill you instantly instead of giving you brain cancer 10-20 years later?

Update 2:

I mean radiation but I can't fix it now.

8 Answers

  • 1 week ago
    Favorite Answer

    Radiation as we tend to speak of it in normal use refers to radioactivity of an element.  That is, an element (an atom) gives off energy and mass when undergoing nuclear decay, and we call that "radiation", even though "radiation" as a scientific term really means "emission of energy".  Energy comes in a huge range of intensity.  Radiation from atomic decay (fission) can be extremely intense, especially when there is a very high number of events occurring in a short time period.  That can be essentially fatal, but it works primarily through burning (the energy "burns" living flesh and it is that process which kills).  At less intense energy, though, radiation can still cause physical and chemical changes to living cells which are not immediately fatal but which can lead to fatal consequences in the near to far future.

    It is sort of like how sunlight can be just fine in small amounts but it will burn your skin in higher amounts or intensities, and sunlight can cause cellular damage that can result in skin cancer or eye cancer or cataract formation many years after the event, whether or not there was burning of flesh at the time of exposure.

    Energy does not come in one size, basically, and any process that emits (radiates) energy can and will emit energy that is anywhere on the wide range of possible intensities. Heat from a fireplace is radiation, but it is a very low energy radiation that lacks enough intensity to cause cellular damage unless you get so close that the heat damages flesh (cooks it, basically: drives out water and then changes protein and carbohydrate compositions via oxidation).  Wood fires never produce intense enough energy to cause damage to cells on the microscopic level.  It just doesn't have it.  Radio waves are also low energy so unless you are right at the source of them and absorb so much that your body heats up (cooks), they do nothing to flesh.

    Nuclear forces are very strong on the scale of an atom.  If there is change that occurs because of nuclear force interactions, the energy will typically be very intense.  Beyond visible light intensity of energy. It still takes a lot to cause immediate death, and that death is normally because you "cook" rather than because the basic functional chemistry of cells has changed. Changing basic fundamental processes in cells will kill, but only slowly and with some bit of randomness to how effective the damage will be.  It depends on the changes and how much change happens.

  • Who
    Lv 7
    1 week ago

     Its a shame you picked the answer you did - cos its wrong on SOO many levels

    (atomic decay is NOT "fission"

    radiation via atomic decay does NOT burn

    it does NOT kill by "burning"

  • 1 week ago

    Yes definitely. You could die if you're overexposed  to high amounts of radiation without any sort of protection.

  • 1 week ago

    Yeah high radiation can cause someone to catch cancer and die.

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  • Yes it is as radiation kills cells

  • 1 week ago

    If you absorbed an extremely high dose, you’d check out within a few days.

  • 1 week ago

    It depends on how long that you're exposed to it. If the radiation is high enough even a few seconds is enough to kill you. Look at a neutron bomb for instance. It's made to minimize the blast but to saturate the area with an extremely powerful bursts of radiation which kills everything that's alive and just leaves the building.

  • Anonymous
    1 week ago

    Yes it can . Maybe not literally instantly but it will be a slow painful death that can take hours days or weeks. 

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