Nuclear science and technology improve our lives in many ways and in many different areas. It makes our food safer; it improves the quality of tools, gauges, and machines; it diagnoses abnormalities of the metabolism and treats cancers; it powers space travel; and it offers one of the cleanest and most environmentally-friendly ways of generating electricity.
It is essential to test materials, products, structures or buildings without altering their properties or affecting their usefulness. X-rays and gamma rays are used in industrial radiography to make images of the inside of solid products, as a means of nondestructive testing (NDT) and inspection. NDT radiography is used in the petroleum, chemical and nuclear industries, as well as on assembly lines to test consumer goods.
To avoid the build-up of static electricity in production of paper, plastics, synthetic textiles, etc., a ribbon-shaped source of the alpha emitter 241Am can be placed close to the material at the end of the production line. The source ionizes the air to remove electric charges on the material.
Since radioactive isotopes behave, chemically, mostly like the inactive element, the behavior of a certain chemical substance can be followed by tracing the radioactivity.
Nuclear well logging is used to help predict the commercial viability of new or existing wells. The technology involves the use of a neutron or gamma-ray source and a radiation detector which are lowered into boreholes to determine the properties of the surrounding rock such as porosity and lithography.
American Nuclear Society