186 pages, 9 b&w illustrations
How much radiation is too much? The author examines the evolution, over more than a hundred years, of radiation protection standards and efforts to ensure radiation safety for nuclear workers and for the general public. The risks of radiation - caused by fallout from nuclear bomb testing, exposure from medical or manufacturing procedures, effluents from nuclear power, or radioactivity from other sources - have aroused more sustained controversy and public fear than any other comparable industrial or environmental hazard. The author clarifies the entire radiation debate, showing that permissible dose levels are a key to the principles and practices that have prevailed in the field of radiation protection since th e1930s, and to their highly charged political and scientific history as well.
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J. Samuel Walker is the historian of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission. His previous books include Containing the Atom (California, 1992) and (with George T.Mazuzan) Controlling the Atom (California, 1984).