[ RadSafe ] RE: What Are Radionuclear Materials?

Strickert, Rick rstrickert at signaturescience.com
Mon Sep 21 09:20:55 CDT 2009

Regarding the term, "radionuclear", the _IAEA Safety Glossary: Terminology Used in Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection_, 2007 Edition, Vienna, June, 2007. STI/PUB/1290 (http://www-pub.iaea.org/MTCD/publications/PDF/Pub1290_web.pdf) stated:

"radionuclear:  'Radionuclear' is not a legitimate word. See nuclear material and radioactive material. 

"Radionuclear has been used in nuclear medicine to mean 'involving the use of radionuclides'; thus 'radionuclear tests' in nuclear medicine has been used to mean tests in which radiopharmaceuticals are administered. This usage should be avoided.

"Radionuclear has also been used as a journalese shorthand form for 'nuclear and/or radiological', as in the terms 'radionuclear weapon' and 'radionuclear emergency', or for 'nuclear and/or radioactive', as in the term 'radionuclear material'. These and other such usages should be avoided."

The use of "radionuclear" by Mohtadi and Murshid occurs in the first sentence of their article in the journal, _Risk Analysis_ (29:9, Sept. 2009, 1317): "If the food sector is attacked, the likely agents will be chemical, biological, or radionuclear (CBRN)."

However, the acronym, CBRN, stands for "chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear" and is commonly used in association with terrorist threats or WMD.  The CBRN term is used in English-speaking countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and has replaced the old term, NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical).   (Sometimes an "E" is added, referring to "explosive.")

Rick Strickert
Austin, TX

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On Behalf Of Scott, Bobby
Sent: Friday, September 18, 2009 6:39 PM
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: [ RadSafe ] What Are Radionuclear Materials? 



The terminology "radionuclear material" appears in some recent
publications that relate to possible future food supply contamination
carried out by terrorist (e.g., WHO 2002; Mohtadi and Murshid 2009).
Can someone define or explain what is meant by radionuclear material?
Isn't this improper terminology?


Bobby R. Scott

Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute

2425 Ridgecrest Drive SE

Albuquerque, NM 87108 USA




Mohtadi H, Murshid AP. 2009. Risk analysis of chemical, biological, or
radionuclear threats: Implications for food security. Risk Analysis Vol.



WHO. 2002. Food Safety Issues: Terrorist Threats to Food. Guidance for
Establishing and Strengthening Prevention and Response Systems. World
Health Organization. Available at:




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