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Radiation is a form of pollution, presumably the worst kind, since it has huge effects on the city, and thereby should be avoided as much as possible. Generally, radiation takes a long time to disappear, usually over 10,000 in-game years for it to disappear completely, and is usually impossible to remove using regular Mayor tools. Radiation pollution is also the only type of pollution which negatively impacts the demand of all zones.
In SimCity 4, if nuclear power plants are not funded or maintained properly, they will explode and release radiation into the surrounding area, as well as destroying buildings (inc. trees) around its immediate vicinity. Existing buildings not destroyed but within the zone of contamination will abandon, regardless of desirability. No new structures will develop on radiation contaminated land. Trees, however, can still grow on contaminated soil.
Other buildings that releases radiation is as follows:
- Army Base
- Disease Research Lab
- Toxic Waste Dump
- Space Shuttle Station
- Advanced Research Lab
- Area 5.1
In SimCity (2013), Radiation has a terrible affect to the environment and the city. There are three ways to get radiation on the city. There are meteor strikes, nuclear power plants, and if Cities of Tomorrow is installed the giant robot can sometimes emit radiation when it leaves the city. Radiation can make Sims sick and die.
Thus, existing buildings will abandon, with no buildings usually being built on areas with high radiation, although it is possible that low-wealth buildings can be constructed in areas with low radiation.