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Other Nuclear Energy Applications

Consumer Products

Many consumer products—from smoke detectors to photocopiers, and watches to cosmetics—use small amounts of radiation.

Food & Agriculture

More than 40 countries have approved the use of radiation to help preserve nearly 40 different varieties of food. In agriculture, radiation has eradicated approximately 10 species of pest insects.

Industrial Uses

Among industries that use radioactive materials in their processes and products are automobile and aircraft manufacturers, mining and oil companies, and construction companies.

Medicine & Scientific Research

Nuclear medicine procedures prolong and improve the quality of people’s lives. Radioisotopes also are used extensively in scientific research.

Space Exploration

Unmanned spacecraft rely on radioisotope thermoelectric generators (RTGs) for the power they need for space exploration. RTGs use heat from plutonium to generate electricity. They are safe, reliable and long-lived, even in the harsh climate of our solar system.

Water Desalination

Readily available drinking water is out of reach for as much as a fifth of the world’s population, a bar to human development. One solution is water desalination, which extracts salt from seawater to produce drinkable fresh water. Nuclear energy is being used for some desalination efforts, but the potential in this arena is enormous and has multiple benefits over the more common fossil-fuel based desalination.