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Nuclear Technology Time Line Activity


By having students research the history of nuclear science and technology, you can help them realize how quickly the field has developed and awaken them to the many applications.

Although X-rays, nuclear radiation, and radioactive elements were discovered in the 1890’s, many milestones in the application of nuclear technology have been in the past 60 to 70 years. The task is for students to review a list of events related to nuclear technology and determine the decade in which it occurred. Have the students use the internet, textbooks, or an encyclopedia to research the information.



Match the nuclear technology events to the decade in which each occurred. There are THREE EVENTS for each decade. Match the letter to the proper decade. Key study or reference words are in bold-type.

Nuclear Technology Time Line Events

  1. Nuclear Power provides 19% of electricity in the U.S.
  2. President Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” speech
  3. Limited Test Ban Treaty signed by U.S. & U.S.S.R.
  4. CAT Scanning is introduced
  5. First self-sustaining Nuclear Chain Reaction produced by mankind
  6. FDA approves first monoclonal antibodies for tumor imaging
  7. Accident at Three Mile Island
  8. First Radioisotope-powered lighthouse
  9. FDA approves irradiation of poultry
  10. Chernobyl accident in U.S.S.R.
  11. First use o reactor-produced radioisotope on a civilian
  12. U.S. FDA approves irradiated bacon, wheat and potatoes
  13. U.S.S. Nautilus the first nuclear-powered submarine is launched
  14. AMA recognizes nuclear medicine as a medical specialty
  15. 111 U.S. nuclear power plants are in operation.
  16. First atomic weapons are exploded
  17. Yucca Mountain in Nevada selected for nuclear waste disposal site
  18. First U.S. nuclear power plant begins operation

1940’s: 3 main events: _____, _____, _____

1950’s: 3 main events: _____, _____, _____

1960’s: 3 main events: _____, _____, _____

1970’s: 3 main events: _____, _____, _____

1980’s: 3 main events: _____, _____, _____

1990’s: 3 main events: _____, _____, _____



1940’s: E, K, P
1950’s: B, M, R
1960’s: C, H, L
1970’s: D, H, N
1980’s: A, J, Q
1990’s: F, I, O






Special thanks to Tim DeVries, who gave us permission to adapt this activity from one he originally developed.


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