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OECx: Effects of Radiation: An Introduction to Radiation and Radioactivity

Learn from Hokkaido University in Japan about the detection, measurement, chemistry, and effects of radiation in industry, medicine, and society.
4 weeks
2–4 hours per week
Instructor-led on a course schedule
This course is archived

About this course

Skip About this course

There are many practical applications of radiation and radioactivity in various fields, including medical, scientific, and industrial activities. In some parts of Japan, people continue to experience environmental radioactivity caused by the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on a daily basis. Understanding the basic science of radiation and radioactivity will form the base of the course, with specific examples from Japan and elsewhere in the world to illustrate concepts.

This course introduces radiochemistry, radiation detection and measurement, and explores radiation’s effect on the human body. You will gain a greater understanding of radioisotopes, radioactive decay, radiations, radiation interaction with matter, and ways to assess radiation exposure. We will explore applications of radiation through various examples including nuclear power generation, diagnostic and therapeutic uses in medicine, and other scientific and industrial uses. Lastly, we will discuss the fate and transport of radioactive cesium in Fukushima in relation to chemical and physical properties of the radionuclide.


The course materials, unless otherwise noted, are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC). This means that the course allows learners not only to openly register and freely learn online, but also to reuse, revise, and remix almost all of the materials used in the course as long as you use them for non-commercial purposes.

At a glance

  • Institution: OECx
  • Subject: Environmental Studies
  • Level: Introductory
  • Prerequisites:
    None, but basic knowledge of high school physics and chemistry is preferred.
  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English
  • Associated skills:Nuclear Power, Radiochemistry, Chemistry

What you'll learn

Skip What you'll learn
  • Basic knowledge of radiation, radioactive materials and radioactivity
  • Basic principles of radiation measurement
  • The effects of radiation on a living body
  • How to identify examples of the use of radiation
  • An understanding of the sink and migration behavior of radionuclides (radiocesium) released into the environment

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