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Effects of Radiation: An Introduction to Radiation and Radioactivity

Open Education Consortium (OEC) via edX


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.

Taught by

Dr. Tohru Yamamori, Dr. Naoko Watanabe, Dr. Hirotaka Sato, Dr. Tamotsu Kozaki, Dr. Junichi H. Kaneko, Dr. Takashi Kamiyama, Dr. Ryoko Fujiyoshi and Dr. Go Chiba


4.0 rating, based on 2 Class Central reviews

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  • Sara J. Carvajal completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Really good course about radiation and radioactivity. I had a bit of previous knowledge on the topic so I didn't find it that hard.
  • Renan

    Renan is taking this course right now.

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