IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Radiation protection stories

At the beginning of the 20th century, a number of ground-breaking scientific discoveries radically changed our universe and the conception of ourselves once and for all.

X-rays, radioactivity, radiation protection… These videos offer an original take on these complex, sometimes serious, and often taboo subjects, which are breeding grounds for controversy. The scientific narrative is placed in the political, social and cultural context if the 20th century, bringing to life both famous and anonymous characters having left their print on the pages of this historical adventure.

The films evoke the high points of this fantastic yet dramatic chapter of history; the discovery of X-rays, radioactivity and nuclear fission; the development of the radium and nuclear industries; the progress of medical radiology, nuclear medicine and radiotherapy; the nuclear testing during the cold war; and the Chernobyl disaster.

A number of devices designed to protect the workers, the public and the environment against the potentially harmful effects of X-rays and radioactivity are progressively discovered from one film to the next. Radiation protection is built up little by little over the course of the 20th century.

Radiation protection stories:

X-rays: Man becomes transparent

Natural radioactivity: The epic story of radium

Artificial radioactivity and fission: The alchemists’ crucible

Atmospheric nuclear tests: Nuclear fallout

Controlled areas: Radiation protection in nuclear facilities

Radioecology: Monitoring Becquerels

Healing rays: Radiography, nuclear medicine and radiotherapy

Rays in the universe: Radon

Rays in the universe: Cosmic radiation

Contaminated areas: The Sami people after the Chernobyl accident

Caution: The first steps towards radiation protection

The effects of radiation on our health


All these videos are also available in high definition on YouTube.

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