Nadya Romanova was born in Pripyat, Ukraine, and grew up in the shadow of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. On 26, April, 1986, when she was 6 years old, the plant had a severe explosion, and threw tons of radiactive material into the atmosphere. Her father was one of the first responding firefighters, and died that night from the severe dose of radiation he recieved while attempting to extinguish the blaze. A few years later, She came down with thyroid cancer as a result of the fallout. After a lengthy recovery, she dedicated herself to learning as much as possible about the disaster, and it's causes, in an attempt to prevent her trauma from happening to anyone else.
Years later, she climbed the ranks as a top Ukrainian scientist, specializing in atomic energy. The IAEA, noticing her considerable talent, placed her on a task force to study the reactor up close. She was tasked with building a suit that could withstand the radiation at the nuclear power plant's core, to study the elephant's foot formation of molten graphite, and radioactive material. The goal was to study the Wigner reaction, wherein graphite's crystalline structure breaks down under neutron bombardment and causes a buildup of energy, to develop a more efficient and safe method of energy generation. However, when she was testing the suit under live conditions, it overloaded. Her radiation filters failed, and the suit stored a massive quanity of radioactive particles in its power core. She was exposed to another large dose of radiation. To date, it's not really understood what the effects were on her body, especially given the dose she'd already recieved as a child. It's generally assumed, however, that she's going to experience a recurrence of her cancer eventually.
She can use the suit to project the radiation, using her own body as a catalyst for the reaction. However, when she does, she also exposes herself to further doses, speeding up the changes in her body.
In the years since she started doing hero work, Nadya's suit seems to have grown a personality. She doesn't consider it a true AI, but it seems to be evolving outside of her control, and possesses an animalistic instinct that seems bent on protecting her from harm. In times of extreme danger, the suit has been known to activate on its own and seek her out. She seems to share a mild telepathic bond with the suit, but she rarely discusses the depth of the connection.
Due to the destruction the suit causes her body, and the incredible pain involved, Nadya is mostly retired. She built an android, housing an AI one of her allies created to help her with her research. This robot, which she dubbed "Shockwave", serves as her body guard and envoy, as well as a potent weapon for any crisis she doesn't deem serious enough to dust off her armor.
Nadya's suit causes her physical harm when she uses its abilities. If she overdoes it, she falls victim to a severe degenerative disorder that leaves her weakened. If she pushes the suit even farther, parts of her body can rot and fall off. They eventually grow back, but during that time she's forced to wear various cybernetic prosthesis she's developed. If she does too much harm to her own body, the suit overloads and goes into a defensive mode. Nadya herself is barely aware of the fact that this happens, as the suit seems to fully take over her consciousness. When this happens, her body surrounds itself with a diamond hard shell of condensed graphite and uranium. In this form, she is incredibly dangerous, as the suit doesn't seem to differentiate between ally and enemy. However, there are a few notable instances: It does tend to know when she's particularly fond of someone, and seems to avoid causing them harm if possible.
Due to the rapid cellular regeneration she undergoes during combat in the suit, she is constantly at risk of having her cancer return. She doesn't like discussing how the regenerative abilities of the suit work, but it's been generally assumed that the suit treats all of her cells equally, repairing cancerous cells alongside healthy ones. Every time she dons it, it actively begins to kill her.
Due to the nature of her powers, she's only marginally associated with most super alliances. She's been a member of A.R.C., The Noir Foundation, an instructor at the Red Academy, random layabout at the East Briar Institute of Higher Learning, Operations Director for S.P.E.A.R, and a researcher for the Overwatch Initiative. Recently, she has founded her own institute, Firewatch, to deal with cosmic level threats that no government can handle on their own. Switching between pro-bono hero work, and mercenary endeavors for the benefit of all mankind. She also works rather heavily with UNTIL, developing various useful technologies to combat super-villainy, and spends the bulk of her free time doing charity work at local hospitals.
She still keeps ties from most of the super groups she's affiliated herself with, and considers herself a reserve member of several of them. She also calls several independent heroes friend, and has strong ties to the Society for Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.