Although radionuclides were used as tracers prior to the first commercial shipment of radionuclides from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1946, it was following this date that extensive contributions were made to the biological and physical sciences that utilize tracer technologies. Today, it would be unusual for an academic institution or a research laboratory not to utilize radionuclides to some degree. One objective of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in its early period was promotion of the use of radionuclides and ionizing radiation in research and commercial operations in the United States. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) assumed this responsibility internationally and is active today in disseminating such knowledge. Undoubtedly, governmental agencies associated with all technologically advanced nations were also engaged in such activities. We are indebted to a wide spectrum of scientists for the enormous literature comprising journal articles, textbooks, symposia proceedings, manuals, and bibliographies on radionuclide and ionizing-radiation applications in the sciences and industry. The history of the production of radionuclides and their use in the United States is presented in Isotopes and Radiation Technology, Vol. 4, No. 1, an issue that commemorates the 20th anniversary of the first commercial shipment of radionuclides from Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Worldwide activities are evident in the IAEA Proceedings Series, These contributions to the nuclear age contain an overview of perhaps all the significant activities during the early and current years of the nuclear age.
KeywordsInternational Atomic Energy Agency Wild Bird Atomic Energy Commission Advanced Nation Commercial Shipment
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