Benefits and Problems of Radioisotopes

Production of Materials‎ > ‎5. Nuclear Methods‎ > ‎

Use available evidence to analyse benefits and problems associated with the use of radioactive isotopes in identified industries and medicine

FieldApplications and benefits
  • Nuclear power production – reduces dependence on other forms of power production, such as coal, which contributes more to climate change
  • Leak detection tracing
  • Smoke alarms
  • Thickness gauges
  • Building ventilation tests
  • Irradiation of food and raw wool to destroy micro-organisms
  • Require nuclear reactors for production
  • Can cause damage to healthy tissue and health problems, including cancer, if not used or stored safely
  • Radioactive waste requires disposal
  • Diagnosis/tracing and treatment of medical illnesses
  • Medical sterilisation – prevents patient infection
(Same as for industry)

The use of nuclear power around the world (click to enlarge)

A gamma camera used in an Australian hospital