Radio Isotopes and their Uses

Radio Isotopes and their Uses

This article deals with ‘Radio Isotopes and their Uses .’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

Isotopes of some elements are unstable and hence radio active. Eg: Iodine-131, Indium-92, Molybdenum-99, Chromium-51, Phosphorous-32


Radio Isotopes and their Uses


  • By using Nuclear fission and fusion in controlled way using Nuclear Reactors.

2. Agriculture

  • To develop mutant crops : To develop high yield ,disease resistant varieties
  • BARC has produced green manure crop Sesbania Rostrata using this
  • Food irradiation : CODEX & HACCP accept this . Prevention of Food Adultration Act has provision regarding this as well.

3. Medicine and healthcare

  • Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty that uses trace amounts of radioactive substances (called radio pharmaceuticals) in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of diseases and conditions in a safe and painless way.
    • Thyroid cancer is  treated using I-131 (iodine)
    • Bhabhatron has been designed by BARC using radioactive Co-60 (Cobalt) onto area requiring treatment . This can be used to treat Breast Cancer, Bowel Cancer, Head and Neck Cancer and Lung Cancer.
    • Brachytherapy : In this treatment of disease is done by placing sealed radioactive sources, at or near the target area . Used for treating Prostrate Cancer using Iridium-192
  • Radio Immunoassay to measure Hormones, Enzymes , Serum Proteins
  • Digital Medical Imaging system
  • Radiation Sterilisation of Medical Products Products such as syringes, cotton wool etc

4. Dating

  • Carbon Dating  uses C-14
  • Uranium Dating

5. Water management

  • BARC developed desalination technologies for providing potable water in rural areas & on ships using radioactive materials 

6. Industry

  • Quality control of the industrial products

7. Sludge Hygenisation

  • Radiation Technology has been used to hygienise the sludge and manufacture  manure from it . Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) is using this

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