Benefits of nuclear science

Human health


On average, every Australian can expect to have a nuclear medicine procedure that uses a radioisotope for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes at some stage in their life. Nuclear medicine and radiology are the medical techniques that involve the use of radiation or radioactivity to diagnose, treat and prevent disease.


While radiology has been used for close to a century, the term "nuclear medicine" began to be used around 50 years ago. Discover more.





Nuclear energy

Nuclear power has been in use for decades and is one of the fastest growing energy options for countries seeking energy security and low-emission energy solutions. Globally nuclear power is the only proven base- load energy option available that has low carbon-dioxide emissions.


In the production of low- emission energy, nuclear power is comparable with wind and hydro- electric and more green than solar power, where production of the photovoltaic cells requires substantial quantities of power. Discover more.




Nuclear power reactor





A wide range of nuclear techniques are used by archaeologists to determine the age of items. Artefacts such as the Shroud of Turin, the Dead Sea Scrolls and Charlemagne’s Crown can be dated, and their authenticity verified, using nuclear techniques. Discover more.





Food and agriculture


Nuclear techniques are used in farming and agricultural communities to combat disease and provide other benefits. The process of treating food with radiant energy isn't new. The sun's energy, for example, has been used for centuries to preserve meat, fruits, vegetables and fish. Discover more.




Mining and minerals


Radioactive sources are used widely in the mining industry. For example, radioactive sources are used in non-destructive testing of pipeline blockages and welds; in measuring the density of material being drilled through. Discover more.


Mining and Minerals



Environment research


Nuclear science plays a valuable role in helping us understand the history of our environment. Discover more.





Industrial applications


The penetrating nature of radiation means it has many beneficial applications in industry, and common consumer products.

A vast array of industries - from agriculture to manufacturing to computers - use radionuclide's to assess the efficiency of materials, products and processes. Irradiated silicon is also common in many household goods. Discover more.


Example of fuel rods in OPAL



Irradiation services


ANSTO operates an irradiation facility known as GATRI, which is used to treat items for medical, health, industry, agriculture and research purposes. The most common source of gamma rays for irradiation is cobalt-60, which is at the heart of ANSTO's Gamma Technology Research Irradiator (GATRI).


Gatri provides the Australian community with range of irradiation services that deliver real benefits. Discover more.




In the home


Many people are surprised to learn that a number of common consumer and household products are created by the nuclear industry. One, in particular, is designed to save lives and property. While natural radiation surrounds us every day, scientists have spent decades refining the use of man-made radiation for the benefit of society.


While nuclear medicine is the most obvious of these, radiation produced in nuclear reactors or cyclotrons has many other benefits that are integrated into common consumer and household items. Discover more.



 Other nuclear information



Waste Storage Homepage

Hydrogen Gas molecules home page

Ionising a world of radiation

About nuclear science

Managing radioactive waste

Glossary of nuclear terms

What is radiation?