I know there are different types and levels of radiation with different affects. I read about some positive affects of ionizing radiation like :

  1. Useful for imaging parts of the body and other objects that can not be seen normally : x-rays for bones, CAT scans for softer tissue, x-rays and gamma ray for machine parts, even neutrons for things like bomb and other carbon-based images.

  2. Useful for sterilizing material that can't be subjected to high heat or chemicals. This includes delicate plastics and medical equipment.

  3. Useful for killing tumors and cancers. Rapidly dividing cells are more susceptible to the effects of radiation. Cancer cells can be killed without harming surrounding tissue as much.

Whether natural or man-made, radiation can be both harmful and beneficial to the environment. The sun, for example can have positive and negative effects on plant and animal life. At low levels, radiation can be beneficial to the environment. Everything is radioactive at some level. Even humans.

This above is what I know so far and what is proven to be,but I am curious about possibility of other positive affects of radiation.Is it possible that some type of radiation in a certain level can affect human speed,thinking,senses sharpening,not to call it super power,but let just say more than normal. And also could it affect nature growth? Animals? What examples of positive affects would you like to exist,in case none of this above is possible?

  • $\begingroup$ Realistically most mutations are not positive, so if you being realistic about this then you just have a population of deformed people. ( remember the mutation is the loss or corruption of regular DNA) $\endgroup$ Feb 20, 2016 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ What type of radiation do you mean? Alpha or beta particles or electromagnetic radiation? $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2016 at 1:56
  • $\begingroup$ Any kind of radiation,was wondering about possibilities. $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2016 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ Gamma radiation or cosmic rays are implied. Alpha and beta radiation have short range even in air, and fail to penetrate skin. To have an effect you'd have to inhale or ingest a source. Often this results in intense irradiation of a very small part of a body rather than mild irradiation of the whole body. $\endgroup$
    – nigel222
    Feb 28, 2016 at 14:05
  • $\begingroup$ I don't remember where I read this but the chance of a random mutation being positive is something like 1 in a million $\endgroup$
    – Daniel M.
    Feb 28, 2016 at 14:21

2 Answers 2


So far as anyone knows, radiation exposure does not produce superpowers outside of comic books.

Can radiation improve health? Now, that is a fascinating question. The current consensus model says no, that there is no lower threshold on radiation damage. However, there is some evidence that low levels can be beneficial, even in humans. The effect is called radiation hormesis and as you might expect it is either ignored or controversial. Certainly, the Taiwan incident (nearly 20,000 people exposed to fairly low levels for 10 to 20 years, and a 97% reduction in cancer and congenital malformation) is so strong and so prompt that it seems unreasonable.

  • $\begingroup$ most interesting. Do you know of any similar studies for other mildly irradiated groups, for example airline flight crews or people living in buildings constructed from naturally radioactive granite? $\endgroup$
    – nigel222
    Feb 28, 2016 at 13:53
  • $\begingroup$ Residential radon studies are not real conclusive, but see here link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1016051322603 "results from this ecological study are most consistent with a U-shaped dose-response relationship ". Uranium miners show elevated lung cancer rates which seem to correlate with radon levels, but there are many uncontrolled factors (dust/silicosis, for instance), and the point of hormesis is that there should be a lower limit, below which positive effects occur, so must studies don't really address it. $\endgroup$ Feb 28, 2016 at 14:17
  • $\begingroup$ That makes sense. An alpha particle released inside a person is locally ( to one or a few cells) a very high dose. Externally generated gamma radiation or X rays are not concentrated on the micro scale so the effect could be very different. $\endgroup$
    – nigel222
    Feb 28, 2016 at 14:32

The simple answer is no. Radiation deals random damage and while in small amounts that is survivable or just creates minor mutations that may even be beneficial in large amounts it's fatal.

The only way this could work is if a creature (or a genetically engineered symbiotic organism on a human) was somehow able to "feed" off the radiation and use it for energy. Even then though it would just be a source of energy in the same way that light is used by plants. It would also be a much weaker source of energy than just eating something. Look at the speed plants move compared to animals...


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