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Industrial and Agricultural Applications

In industrial applications, g rays with high penetrating power are used to image defects in welds and metal castings. In addition, radiation is widely used in automatic quality control systems in production lines, such as to gauge fluid level in beverage cans or density of tobacco in cigarettes. It is also used to measure the thickness of electroplates and to eliminate static charges in industries.

In agricultural applications, radioisotopes are usually used as tracers. Fertilizers doped with radioisotopes provide a means to find out the amount of fertilizer uptaken by crops and the portion that is lost. In addition, radiation can be used to exterminate insects. Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) is applied to inhibit the reproducing power of the insects so as to reduce their population. The SIT operations conducted in Mexico were successful in reducing the number of pest/insects significantly. With the support of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the SIT programmes are underway in a number of countries.

SIT instrument
(Source/Photo: FAO / Mr. S. Pierbattista)