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Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work!Some of these are found in nature; the rest are produced artificially as the direct products of nuclear reactions or indirectly as the radioactive descendants of these products.Each “parent” radioactive isotope eventually decays into one or at most a few stable isotope “daughters” specific to that parent. Some radioactive isotopes are present as terrestrial radiation.Diagnostic techniques in nuclear medicine use radioactive tracers which emit gamma rays from within the body.These tracers are generally short-lived isotopes linked to chemical compounds which permit specific physiological processes to be scrutinised.Other significant applications include the use of radioactive isotopes as compact sources of electrical power—e.g., plutonium-238 in spacecraft.
If everyone who saw this chipped in monthly we'd secure Change.org's future today. Only hydrogen-3 (tritium), however, is a radioactive isotope; the other two are stable.More than 1,800 radioactive isotopes of the various elements are known.Radioactive isotopes of radium, thorium, and uranium, for example, are found naturally in rocks and soil.Uranium and thorium also occur in trace amounts in water.
Radiotherapy commonly is used to treat cancer and other conditions involving abnormal tissue growth, such as hyperthyroidism.