Radiation in Action

Radiation in Action

Radioisotopes are used in research, commercial, medical and industrial applications all around us. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission licenses the use and production of over 250 radioisotopes in Canada.

  • 192Ir


    Testing Aircraft Parts

    Iridium-192 is used in radioisotope cameras for non-destructive testing to check for flaws and cracks in machine parts. The remote-controlled cameras contain a sealed source licensed by the CNSC and are operated by trained technicians.

  • 63Ni


    Surge Protectors and Explosives Detectors

    Nickel-63 is used in voltage regulators and current surge protectors in electronic items such as cellphones and GPS devices. It can also be found in detectors that identify narcotics, chemical weapons and explosives.

  • 90Sr


    Power Far From Home

    Strontium-90's radioactive decay heat is converted to electricity in long-lived, portable power supplies used in satellites. They play an important role in space exploration.

  • 147Pm


    Measuring Thickness

    Nuclear gauges are used to measure the width or density of materials as thin as plastic films or as thick as metal sheets during their production. Promethium-147 is used to measure the exact size of paper without touching it.

  • 3H


    A Bright Light in the Dark

    The beta decay of tritium causes phosphors to glow. This radioluminescence is commonly used in self-luminous aircraft signals, dials, night scopes and wristwatches. Tritium is sealed inside plastic or glass, through which the beta radiation cannot pass.

  • 60Co


    Clean Medical Supplies

    Sealed and packaged gauze, bandages, ointments, medicines, syringes, sutures, and surgical gloves are all sterilized by gamma irradiation using cobalt-60 to prevent the introduction of any pathogens that may harm patients. The process of irradiating materials does not make them radioactive.

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Radiation in Action

The CNSC licenses the use and production of over 250 radioisotopes in Canada. This infographic features examples of isotopes used in applications all around us.

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