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The general nature of radiation effects in solids is reviewed briefly. Current theoretical understanding of the mechanical properties of solids is critically evaluated. The effect of nuclear radiation on the mechanical properties is discussed in detail. It is shown that the changes in the mechanical properties of crystalline substances (mostly metals) can be quite satisfactorily interpreted on the basis of the production of interstitial atoms and vacant lattice sites by fast particle irradiation. Isolated vacancies and interstitials may not be able to account for all the observations, and attention is called to the possible need of postulating the existence of aggregates of these lattice defects. In molecular solids (mostly high polymers) nuclear radiations bring about changes in the substance which are best described as chemical ones. Ions and free radicals are formed leading to subsequent chemical reactions thereby altering the properties of the substance. Drastic changes in the mechanical properties of high polymers are observed. Correlation with structural changes has hardly been started. Experiments are suggested which, in the writer's opinion, should give further insight into the fundamental processes involved.