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A common example is to test aeroplane jet engine turbines for structural integrity.
Radioisotopes are also used by industry for gauging (to measure levels of liquid inside containers, for example) or to measure the thickness of materials.
On average, one in every two Australians can expect, at some stage in their life, to undergo a nuclear medicine procedure that uses a radioisotope for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.
Some radioisotopes used in nuclear medicine have short half-lives, which means they decay quickly and are suitable for diagnostic purposes; others with longer half-lives take more time to decay, which makes them suitable for therapeutic purposes.
Radioisotopes are an essential part of radiopharmaceuticals.
In fact, they have been used routinely in medicine for more than 30 years.
Medical radioisotopes are made from materials bombarded by neutrons in a reactor, or by protons in an accelerator called a cyclotron. Radioisotopes are an essential part of radiopharmaceuticals.
The most common is technetium-99m, which has its origins as uranium silicide sealed in an aluminium strip and placed in the OPAL reactor's neutron-rich reflector vessel surrounding the core.In some cases a nuclear reactor is used to produce radioisotopes, in others, a cyclotron.Nuclear reactors are best-suited to producing neutron-rich radioisotopes, such as molybdenum-99, while cyclotrons are best-suited to producing proton-rich radioisotopes, such as fluorine-18.Radioisotopes are also widely used in scientific research and are employed in a range of applications, from tracing the flow of contaminants in biological systems to determining metabolic processes in small Australian animals.They are also used on behalf of international nuclear safeguards agencies to detect clandestine nuclear activities from the distinctive radioisotopes produced by weapons programs.