Researchers have identified 3,000 radioactive isotopes – and predict 4,000 more are out there.
Alongside their famous dangers, radioactive materials have many beneficial uses. With as many more predicted as have already been discovered, nuclear physicists are searching for more isotopes.
A police officer stands next to a rubbish bin that has been cordoned off in Salisbury, Britain, 05 July 2018.
Former Russian spies Alexander Litvinenko and Sergei Skripal were both poisoned – one polonium, the other by Novichok. Now that there's been another nerve agent case, what's the difference?
Cleanup crew search for radioactive debris.
U.S. Air Force
In what came to be known as the Thule incident, an American bomber crashed in Greenland, spreading radioactive wreckage across 3 square miles of a frozen fjord. Denmark was not happy.
Scientists have finally been able to prove that thunder and lightning drive nuclear reactions.
The author’s backpack was hiding this almost complete therapsid fossil. Was finding it all down to luck?
Good science isn't rooted in chance. It's based on people with expertise being in the right place at the right time, equipped with enough knowledge to know what they're looking at.
Drink image via www.shutterstock.com.
Back in the early 1900s, if you felt a bit sluggish you could reach for a beverage enhanced with radioactive elements to really add some pep to your step. It wouldn't be a healthy choice, though.
Blasted trees in the aftermath of a bomb test at Maralinga.
On September 27, 1956, an atomic mushroom cloud rose above the Maralinga plain - the first of seven British bomb tests. Why was Australia so keen to put UK military interests ahead of its own people?
The relentless pursuit of showy flowers for garden display – as seen at Chelsea Flower Show – has seen some odd uses of radiation and chemicals .
After one reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant caught fire and exploded in 1986, the whole site was encased in a concrete sarcophagus.
The meltdown at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986 exposed 572 million people to radiation. No other nuclear accident holds a candle to that level of public health impact.
Greg Webb / IAEA/Flickr
Estimating health impacts after a nuclear accident is more complicated than you might think.
Polonium is found naturally in uranium ore.
Polonium's chemical properties made it the ideal secret weapon for the assassins of Alexander Litvinenko.
The OPAL reactor at Lucas Heights in Sydney produces radioactive materials for medicine and manufacturing.
AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy
Australia has been trying to construct a new nuclear storage site for the past thirty-five years without success.
Americans heard about atomic bombs long before one was actually built.
US Department of Defense
News of the Hiroshima bombing spread quickly to the US public but, thanks to science fiction writers, atomic bombs were discussed more before the war began than during it.
Blowing up the desert – and people’s minds: the first atom bomb test in 1945.
The first atom bomb test seventy years ago today marks the start of a change in Americans' thinking about radiation. On balance, our nuclear anxieties endure today.
With a flap of a butterfly’s wings.
Irradiated plants taken from the evacuated areas around the stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant have been reported to cause growth abnormalities and early death when fed to butterfly larvae…
An element on the fringe of the periodic table could help build safe new storage containers for radioactive waste, help separate…
A new pathway to genetic mutation has been identified by researchers at Curtain University. The study found natural radioactivity…
Don’t be confused: here’s the difference between radiation and radioactivity.
On the weekend, a tank of radioactive material leaked from the closed Ranger uranium mine in the Northern Territory. While this has prompted concerns about the health of the surrounding Kakadu National…
Nine years after his death, Yasser Arafat’s remains have produced even more questions.
A Swiss forensic report of the exhumed remains of ex-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat today suggests polonium poisoning may have been the cause of death – but what is polonium, and why is it so deadly…