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Radioactive Tropes

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Always be ready to deal with the fallout.
"Whoa-oh, whoa
I'm radioactive, radioactive"
Imagine Dragons, "Radioactive"

This index lists tropes about radiation (usually of the ionizing variety), its applications, and its consequences.

For tropes about radioactive weapons, see Atomic Hate and Ranged Energy Attack Tropes. See also Energy.

Specifically about radiation:


Useful Notes:

Often associated with radiation:

  • Applied Phlebotinum — Radiation is a common choice of technical-sounding phlebotinum.
    • Phlebotinum du Jour — A particularly popular choice in the '50s and '60s, as well as immediately after its discovery in the late 1800s.
    • Toxic Phlebotinum — As in real life, it's often dangerous as well as useful.
  • Atomic Superpower: Characters possess the ability to generate and control radiation.
  • Containment Clothing — A radioactive character wears gear to protect others.
  • Contamination Situation — Radiation exposure leads to Character Development.
  • Decontamination Chamber — A checkpoint room sometimes used for eliminating radioactive contamination.
  • Fallout Shelter Fail — A bunker (often) intended to keep out radiation . . . doesn't.
  • Fantasy Metals — Fictional metals are sometimes radioactive.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Gas Mask — Gas masks are frequently worn in radioactive post-apocalyptic landscapes.
  • Green Rocks — The effects of radiation are often inconsistent within a work.
  • Harmful to Touch — Touching a radioactive object will hurt you.
  • Hazmat Suit — Ominous-looking protective garb frequently worn when radiation is about.
  • Kaiju — Giant, destructive monsters that are very commonly created or empowered by radiation.
  • Kryptonite Factor — Superpower-defeating materials (including the Trope Namer) are frequently radioactive.
  • Made of Explodium — Radioactive = prone to combust with no provocation.
  • Mutagenic Goo — Radioactive ooze that can instantly mutate whatever it touches.
  • Phlebotinum-Handling Equipment — Equipment designed to safely handle dangerous (sometimes radioactive) materials.
  • Poisonous Person — People who have been exposed to high levels of radiation are often portrayed as becoming radioactive themselves.
  • Polluted Wasteland — Radiation is often one of the dangers in these landscapes.
  • Powered Armor — Some powered armor suits use radiation.
  • Power Source — As in real life, radioactivity in fiction is often used to generate power.
  • Sensor Suspense — Since radiation is usually invisible, the sound of a Geiger counter or similar instrument is frequently used to indicate its presence.
  • Sterility Plague — Radiation is known to interfere with reproduction in real animals, and it is sometimes the cause of these in fiction.
  • Superpower Meltdown — When someone loses control of their powers, the equivalent of a nuclear explosion results.
  • Toxic, Inc. — A company that dumps large amount of radioactive waste.
  • Walking Wasteland — Someone who is radioactive might have the ability to destroy anything they touch.

Alternative Title(s): I Love Nuclear Power