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Dr. Tsubokura's Radiation Lecture Vol.62

Author: Masaharu Tsubokura

Editors: Akihiko Ozaki M.D., Yuki Senoo

123. Tritium is used to date groundwater

A radioactive substance called “tritium” often appears in articles covering the issues of contaminated water released from the nuclear plant. Tritium is not only an artificial substance that was released from the accident this time but also one naturally generated in our environment.

As previous articles have explained, the health effects of radiation are determined by the extent of the exposure dose, not by whether their source is a natural or artificial radioactive substance.

Tritium emits a very low level of radiation (beta rays), and its energy level is so small that plastic wraps can block it. Therefore, the level of internal exposure caused after ingesting 1 becquerel of tritium is known to be much lower than that caused by other radioactive substances, such as cesium and potassium (about 1/1000 of cesium).