The misuse of ionizing radiations can be dangerous to living organisms. For this reason, in any activity where irradiation can result from a radiation source or radiactive contamination, it is necessary to ensure that people and other living beings that need protection do not receive a dose that can put them at risk of radiation, much less cause a certain damage.
Around the mid- 20th Century, when the applications of nuclear power were developed, radiological protection was also applied to the nuclear sector and acquired the importance it has today
This is the job of radiological protection, which is defined as the sets of norms, methods and actions taken to avoid these risks and damages, as well as the actions, measures and analyses done to check that the correct protection criteria were applied. In a nuclear or radioactive site there is a possibility, if only theoretical, that radioactive products could be emitted to the environment with its consequential harm to living beings. For this reason, radiological protection also establishes the limits of radioactive emissions to the environment and measures any radioactivity present in it.
Radiological protection did not start with nuclear power plants. In 1901, after it was discovered that the misuse of radiation is dangerous, the first protection laws against X-rays were established, and in 1916 the first recommendations on protection against X-rays and radium were established. During the first four decades of the 20th Century, ionizing radiations were used only in medicine; thus, radiological protection was only applied to the medical use of radiations.
Around the mid- 20th Century, when the applications of nuclear power were developed, radiological protection was also applied to the nuclear sector and acquired the importance it has today.