Terms in boldface type have a separate entry in the glossary.
|Alpha particles||A form of ionizing radiation consisting of positively charged helium atoms; alpha particles contain 2 protons and 2 neutrons. The most densely ionizing of alpha, beta, and gamma rays, it is potentially the most dangerous of these 3 forms of radiation, although it is the least penetrating. If an alpha emitter like plutonium enters the body, e.g., through inhalation, it can cause significant cellular damage or death.|
|Beta particles||A form of ionizing radiation that has the same charge and mass as electrons. Streams of beta particles, such as those from strontium-90 and cesium-137, can cause skin burns.|
|Carbon-dioxide-equivalent emissions||A quantity (usually measured in metric tons) that describes, for a given mixture and amount of greenhouse gas, the amount of CO2 that would have the same global warming potential, when measured over a specific time frame, usually 100 years. By using measures of carbon-dioxide-equivalent emissions, the global warming potential of different greenhouse gases can be combined and compared, in terms of a common metric.|