Ionising radiation

Radiation is all around us. It comes from the Earth and from space. It is present in our food, and we receive controlled doses in medical examinations such as X-rays. Industrial and research facilities can also generate ionising radiation.

At CERN, ionising radiation is produced by the collision of particle beams with matter. CERN’s unique facilities require innovative approaches to minimise the exposure of workers, the public and the environment, making CERN one of the recognised leaders in this field. CERN’s radiation protection is in line with best practices in Europe.

To quantify the impact on the public and the environment, emissions are continuously monitored, environmental samples analysed, and the results are published in reports made available to the Swiss and French Authorities. For more information see CERN’s environment reports.

Natural sources of ionising radiation

Average radiation doses received per person per year in Switzerland (in mSv/year/person). CERN’s activities fall under the category “Other sources”. (Source: Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, 2020).