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In Tom Clancy's book "The Hunt for Red October," a Russian submarine has a nuclear reactor accident with radiation leakage that forces the crew to abandon ship.
At Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, nuclear power plants released radioactive substances into the atmosphere during nuclear accidents.
Uranium-238 decays by alpha emission into thorium-234, which itself decays by beta emission to protactinium-234, which decays by beta emission to uranium-234, and so on.
By the emission of these particles and radiation, the unstable nucleus gets converted into a stabler nucleus. The Term 'Radioactive' - A Misnomer A radioactive element is a fundamental element whose atomic nuclei demonstrates the phenomenon of radioactivity.When an organism dies it ceases to replenish carbon in its tissues and the decay of carbon 14 to nitrogen 14 changes the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14.