Nuclear Protective Clothing

Nuclear Protective Clothing

When worn in white zones in nuclear facilities, power generators and research laboratories, nuclear protective clothing made of DuPont™ Tyvek® helps prevent dust particles and liquids from contaminating skin and undergarments. Decontamination and disposal of contaminated garments after use help prevent secondary contamination.

The tragic disaster in Japan raises questions about protection from nuclear hazards. This question can be divided into two main areas: ionising radiation hazards, and radioactive particle or liquid hazards.

Ionising Radiation Hazards
The fabrics used in single use protective garments do not provide a barrier to ionising radiation (e.g., gamma rays, X-rays, or radioactive alpha or beta particles). The standard protocol used to reduce radiation exposure would include time, distance and shielding. For garments, limited shielding may be provided by specialty garments that contain lead-based materials. DuPont does not offer any specialty garments that provide protection from ionising radiation hazards.

Radioactive Contaminated Particle or Liquid Hazards
For hazards associated with radioactive contaminated particles or liquids, rather than blocking the radiation itself, appropriate garments are designed to minimise the penetration of radioactive materials, thereby also keeping contact with the skin and clothing worn underneath to a minimum. These garments are designed to be worn in a potentially affected area and then be promptly removed and disposed of, such that long-term exposure to the radioactive contaminated material is minimised after leaving the potentially affected area and to avoid contaminating other areas.

Chemical protective garments are intended for single use so that a cross-contamination with radioactive particles can be minimised. In general, more body coverage is better: hooded coveralls help keep clothing and hair free of radioactive materials. DuPont does offer specially designed garments that help provide protection from radioactive particles and liquids. Specific fabric types, seam configurations and garment designs should be specified to match the hazard. In addition, other appropriate PPE, such as but not limited to respirators, goggles, gloves and footwear, etc., as identified during the hazard assessment, should be used in conjunction with any garment selection.

Tyvek® Classic Xpert, Tyvek® Classic Plus, Tychem® C Standard and Tychem® C2, as well as Tychem® F Standard and Tychem® F2 garments are tested according to EN 1073-2 as protective clothing against radioactive contamination.

Because there is such a broad spectrum of tasks, and of radioactive contamination risks, DuPont offers a wide range of nuclear protective clothing.

Furthermore, since radioactive contamination can be found in wet, dry or mixed environments, DuPont has also taken these hazards into consideration.