My characters are entering a warehouse wearing radiation suits to protect from radiated materials. Can they communicate with each other via radio? No aliens. Humans in a real scenario on earth dealing with radioactive materials. IF it's possible what RF? Shortwave? Long wave? FM? AM would be noisy around nuclear materials. Any suggestions?

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    $\begingroup$ They are able to use radio communications just fine. Why wouldn't they? $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 7:49
  • $\begingroup$ As @AlexP said, there should be no real problem, they already do so in reality (for example scientific teams in Tschernobyl). Problems would occure if you have a nuclear explosion, because of the nuclear blackout. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_blackout $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 8:01
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. While my story is fiction, I want to have real scientific reasons for their radios to work effectively without having to explain WHY they work in a real scenario like mine, i,e., making dirty bombs, etc. $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 16:16
  • $\begingroup$ Where do you find non-wireless radios? Radiation would have no effect on the usability of radios (at least if it's not intense enough to disrupt the electronic circuitry), but (depending on frequency & building construction) the building walls might present a problem. Same reason you might not get good cell service in an office building. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 16:55
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    $\begingroup$ "I want to have real scientific reasons for their radios to work effectively without having to explain WHY they work in a real scenario like mine": the problem with this question is that for any readers who know how this world is put together, you would need an explanation why radios wouldn't work. You don't need to explain why radios work, you need to explain how some characters who are so clueless about physics that they believe that radios wouldn't work around radioactive materials have managed to work with dangerous substances without killing themselves. $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 20:07

3 Answers 3


There should be no problems. Just have the radio be very powerful, and it should cut through any interference. Also, it depends on the type of radiation. Just have it be on a band different from the radiation, and there shouldn't be any real problem.

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    $\begingroup$ Why does the radio need to be "very powerful"? How powerful is "very powerful"? What level of interference are we speaking about? Why would you believe that the electromagnetic noise generated by radioactive materials is band-limited? $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 7:51

Radiation will have little if any affect on radio waves. Depending on the type and intensity of the radiation it might affect the radio's hardware. However any radiation that would significantly damage the radio hardware would probably also be damaging the humans using it.

Alpha and Beta particles are easily shielded and would pose little if any threat. Gamma waves are nearly impossible to shield and depending on the intensity would damage the radio hardware and harm the human. The human would probably fail first succumbing to radiation sickness.


As an addendum to Mr. Anderson great answer, if you want to showcase high-end tech, you can show your characters using cutting edge Laser Coms.

Light is less susceptible to interference.

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    $\begingroup$ I would say light is more susceptible to interference: rain, dust, obsticales - they all interfere a lot. $\endgroup$
    – ksbes
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 13:42
  • $\begingroup$ Light is a radio wave. $\endgroup$
    – workerjoe
    Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 14:12
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    $\begingroup$ @workerjoe light and radio waves are both part of the electromagnetic spectrum, but even the highest frequencies in the "radio" part of the spectrum are orders of magnitude less than those generally classed as "light". $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 15, 2020 at 14:24

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