Describe the following effects of nuclear explosions:
Radiation hazards are alpha and beta particles, gamma and neutron radiation. Alpha particles have little skin penetrating power and must be taken into the body through ingestion or cuts. Beta particles can present a hazard to personnel if the emitters of these particles, such as dust or dirt, come in contact with the skin or inside the body. Beta particles with enough intensity will cause skin burns. Gamma rays, which are pure energy, are not easily stopped. They can penetrate every region of the body. Gamma rays can pass right through a body without ever touching it. Gamma rays that do strike atoms in the body cause ionization of these atoms, which may result in any number of possible chemical reactions that damage the cells of the body. Neutrons, which have the greatest penetrating power of the nuclear radiation hazards, create hazards to personnel when the neutron is captured in atoms of various elements in the body, atmosphere, water or soil. As a result of this neutron capture, the elements become radioactive and release high-energy gamma rays and beta particles. Initial radiation contains both gamma and neutron radiation. Residual radiation, our greatest concern, contains both gamma and neutron radiation.