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( Article Type: Explanation )

Radiation can be split into two main types: ionising and nonionising radiation. Ionising radiation is high-energy short-wave radiation, which has enough energy to knock electrons and change the atoms to positively charged ions. This principle is utilised in nuclear power stations to generate electricity. However, the resulting highly reactive electrons and ions can disrupt organic compounds in living cells and cause many sicknesses, including cancers. Examples of ionising radiation include X-rays, gamma rays, alpha and beta particles. Non-ionising radiation is the opposite. It is low energy and cannot form ions or knock electrons. Examples of non-ionising radiation include ultra-violet light, visible light and radio waves. Non-ionising radiation may, however, have some effect on people but this is not yet clearly understood.