Preclinical Research Given nuclear-power-plant incidents such as the 2011 Japanese Fukushima-Daiichi disaster, an urgent need for effective medicines to protect against and treat the harmful biological effects of radiation is evident. To address such a challenge, we describe potential strategies herein including mitochondrial and epigenetic-driven methods using lipoic and butyric acid ester conjugates of carnitine. The antioxidant and other therapeutically beneficial properties of this class of agents may protect against ionizing radiation and resultant mitochondrial dysfunction. Recent studies of the compounds described herein reveal the potential-although further research and development is required to prove the effectiveness of this approach-to provide field-ready radiation-protective drugs. Drug Dev Res 76 : 167-175, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.