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  • The becquerel (symbol Bq) is the SI (International System of Units)-derived unit of radioactivity. One Bq is defined as the activity of a quantity of radioactive material in which one nucleus decays per second. Named for Henri Becquerel, who shared a Nobel Prize with Pierre and Marie Curie.

    Since 1 Bq expresses a very small activity, the following multiples are used: 1000 Bq or kilobecquerel (kBq); one million Bq or megabecquerel (MBq); 1 x 109 Bq or gigabecquerel (GBq); 1 x 1012 Bq or terabecquerel (TBq); 1 x 1015 Bq or petabecquerel (PBq); 1 x 1018 Bq or exabecquerel (EBq). To grasp the magnitude of the becquerel, it should be noted that the Codex Alimentarius recommends that radioactivity in food should not exceed about 1000 Bq of caesium, or 1 Bq of plutonium per kilogram of foodstuff.

    November 14, 2008