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Well,... it could happen.

A sub-trope of I Love Nuclear Power, Nuclear Nasty is a monster (usually the Monster of the Week) created when a creature is exposed to radiation. Very common in 1950s monster movies, as well as works trying to be throwbacks to that era for obvious reasons. Tends to be an Attack of the 50 Foot Whatever.

When played straight, this is a case of You Fail Biology Forever.

Examples of Nuclear Nasty include:





  • Andre Norton's Star Man's Son had mutant creatures in a post-apocalyptic world.
  • Metro 2033. Looks like the heavily irradiated, post-nuclear Moscow became a gigantic nest of monsters, mutants and dinosaurs.

Live Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • All over the place in Gamma World, though modern versions use Nanomachines and Magical Particle Accelerator as an explanation. Some of these include giant insects, the many-legged Centisteed, the multi-armed Snake People called the Menarls, the Exactly What It Says on the Tin cactus horse, the humanoid metal-to-rubber-making bunny rabbits called Hoops and The Yexil.
  • Monsterpocalypse has those cosy radioactive giant insects that eat you, instead of making you a super hero.
  • Although it was mainly based on hard science, the After the End game The Morrow Project allowed for radiation-mutated animals that were treated as monsters.
  • Mutant Future had mutated monsters.
  • Paranoia had at least one mutated monster: giant intelligent cockroaches in the adventure "Into the Outdoors with Gun and Camera".
  • D20 Modern's Urban Arcana setting has the Nuclear Toxyderm, a pile of nuclear power plant waste given life.
  • Promethean: The Created has the Zeka, nuclear Prometheans who have the ultimate in Blessed with Suck. Not only do they suffer Disquiet, they spread fallout wherever they go, meaning they can rarely interact with humans and have a lot of trouble undertaking the Pilgrimage. As a result, most of them go Centimanus, and hoo boy, do they go Centimanus. Two NPC examples are Oleg Wormwood (an Eastern European arms dealer who longs to get his hands on a suitcase nuke and start some real fun) and Tsar Bomba (a hulking brute who seems content to just barge into nuclear power plants, subject the staff to a slow death, and bask in the radiation as the place starts to go critical). And that's not even starting on the Carcinomas...
    • Zeka can have a Bestowment (innate power) that lets them irradiate corpses to bring them back as zombies. The Irradiation tree of powers also includes the abilities to control insects and then, later on, to mutate those insects into giants (ala Them). It's also mentioned that the Wastelands created by Zeka tend to include huge, mutated invertebrate lifeforms.

Video Games

Real Life

  • There has been investigation into whether nuclear accidents like the Chernobyl disaster have mutated animals over generations. It didn't.
    • In Real Life, this wouldn't be able to happen. The nuclear poisoning will kill any higher animal or at least give health problems. The childs of given animals may have some abnormalities but usually not good.
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