weapons, nuclear weapons can also present a hazard to personnel through the emission of nuclear
Nuclear radiation is emitted as ALPHA and BETA particles and GAMMA rays. When absorbed by the
body, radiation can destroy body cells causing radiation sickness and in certain cases, eventually death.
To protect personnel from the effects of radiation, some type of material must be used to shield them
from the radiation. The type and amount of shielding material required will be dependent upon the type
and intensity of radiation and the density of the contamination. ALPHA and BETA particles have a very
short range and a very low penetrating power. While ALPHA particles will not penetrate the skin, a
layer of clothing is normally sufficient to shield against the BETA particles. The residual GAMMA
radiation presents a different situation. These GAMMA rays can penetrate considerable distances
through the air and into the body.
Shielding will be required in most fallout situations to reduce the radiation dose to an acceptable level.
Except for the early stages of decay, the gamma rays from fallout have much less energy, on the
average, than do those emitted in the first minute after a nuclear explosion. This means that the residual
GAMMA rays are more easily shielded than those emitted as initial radiation. Therefore, a smaller
thickness of a given material will produce the same degree of shielding. Figure 1-1 identifies some
ways that steel, earth, stone, and wood are used as shielding on the nuclear battlefield. Estimates of the
amount of shielding afforded by various structures, vehicles, and fighting positions have been made.
Some of the results of these estimates are given in Figure S-1 in Supplemental Booklet in terms of dose
transmission factors. These transmission factors were established, in the case of a combat vehicle, by
determining the shielded dose or dose rate for determining the dose or dose rate at the approximate
center of the shielded area.