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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 1/1/2006 11:45:39 AM EDT
I acquired a small (really small, probably less than four square milimeters) portion of fused sand from the first atomic bomb test in 1945 two or three years ago. At the time, I remember that a bigger chunk of it (maybe a square centimeter) only barely registered on a (working) Civil Defense Gieger counter. You could maybe get it to make like one click every 10 seconds or so on the lowest setting. We measured 1970's dinner plates that were more radioactive than this thing.

My question comes into play with the realization that I no longer have any idea where I put the stupid thing. I think it's been somewhere in my bedroom the whole time, but I can't find it. Will this small, barely-radioactive piece of sand pose any realistic threat to my health give the exposure time?

Thanks
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 11:53:45 AM EDT
At least it's not a piece of Uranium ore from United Nuclear. They say to keep that shit out of your bedroom, but you CAN buy it.

unitednuclear.com
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 11:54:36 AM EDT
Probably won't hurt you, just your mutant offspring from all the damaged genes you passed along.

I always wondered about the level of radioactivity in those, too. When I was a kid, Edmund Scientific sold the pieces of glass.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 11:55:48 AM EDT
Depends on the settings of the geiger counter! Depends on what kind of source it is. What does it emit?
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 12:00:49 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/1/2006 12:02:31 PM EDT by OBird]

Originally Posted By AeroE:
Probably won't hurt you, just your mutant offspring from all the damaged genes you passed along.

I always wondered about the level of radioactivity in those, too. When I was a kid, Edmund Scientific sold the pieces of glass.



That's comforting


Originally Posted By mandingo:
Depends on the settings of the geiger counter! Depends on what kind of source it is. What does it emit?



It's hard to recall, but I know for sure that when we measured it the Geiger counter was on the lowest setting. You couldn't get any reading at all on any other setting (and just ever so barely on the lowest setting). I'm hoping it's just alpha-particles, then I wouldn't worry, but if it's gamma radiation then I'm not sure what to think.

ETA: And that's just from the "big" chunk. I don't think we could get any reading at all from my little souvineir.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 12:12:41 PM EDT
As long as you didn't eat it or inhale small dust particles from it, no, none what so ever.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 12:15:48 PM EDT

Originally Posted By OBird:
I acquired a small (really small, probably less than four square milimeters) portion of fused sand from the first atomic bomb test in 1945 two or three years ago. At the time, I remember that a bigger chunk of it (maybe a square centimeter) only barely registered on a (working) Civil Defense Gieger counter. You could maybe get it to make like one click every 10 seconds or so on the lowest setting. We measured 1970's dinner plates that were more radioactive than this thing.

My question comes into play with the realization that I no longer have any idea where I put the stupid thing. I think it's been somewhere in my bedroom the whole time, but I can't find it. Will this small, barely-radioactive piece of sand pose any realistic threat to my health give the exposure time?

Thanks



Well that explains a lot of things about you. People do suffer central nervous problems with prolonged radiation exposure.

I should have gave the free team membership to someone who would live long enough to enjoy it!
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 12:16:40 PM EDT

Originally Posted By QuantumPion:
As long as you didn't eat it or inhale small dust particles from it, no, none what so ever.



You are right on. Even inhaling it probably won't increase his increased cancer risk by more than 1 in 1 million. There's a one in three chance he will get cancer anyway (based on current statistics).
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 12:23:17 PM EDT
Depends on the settings and type of counter used, and when it was last calibrated, for exact levels.

But I doubt it's any kind of hazard. It'd probably have to be emitting gammas or neutrons and be right under your sheets to have much effect. It sounds like it's probably barely above background levels already, and any kind of shielding, like any box it's tucked away in, probably reduces that to essentially nothing.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 12:29:28 PM EDT
Sit in your concrete basement for a few hours and then go to the tanning salon.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 12:41:22 PM EDT
I know a little about radiation. Let me qualify my comments by giving a little of my background. I am the radiation safety officer for my company, we have several machines that contain gamma and neutron sources. I handled fairly strong (30-90 curie sources) when working in the oilfield years ago. I have had multiple hours of training on how to handle sources, reporting problems, and all the paperwork nightmares dealing with radioactive materials (and believe me, it is a pain in the ass). First off. has your geiger counter been calibrated within the last year? If not, get it done by the manufacturer. If so, then if you are getting a very low reading on the material, as you state, then the exposure rate will be so low that it will have no ill effects to your physical person. And just so you know, it takes more radiation to sterilize you than it does to kill you. Unless you get exposed to massive amounts of radiation (highly unlikely for the average joe), you have nothing to worry about. Sounds like what you have is an interesting, but not dangerous, piece of history. Just don't stick it up your ass for days on end and you'll be fine. - savage1
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 12:47:11 PM EDT

Originally Posted By savage1:
I know a little about radiation. Let me qualify my comments by giving a little of my background. I am the radiation safety officer for my company, we have several machines that contain gamma and neutron sources. I handled fairly strong (30-90 curie sources) when working in the oilfield years ago. I have had multiple hours of training on how to handle sources, reporting problems, and all the paperwork nightmares dealing with radioactive materials (and believe me, it is a pain in the ass). First off. has your geiger counter been calibrated within the last year? If not, get it done by the manufacturer. If so, then if you are getting a very low reading on the material, as you state, then the exposure rate will be so low that it will have no ill effects to your physical person. And just so you know, it takes more radiation to sterilize you than it does to kill you. Unless you get exposed to massive amounts of radiation (highly unlikely for the average joe), you have nothing to worry about. Sounds like what you have is an interesting, but not dangerous, piece of history. Just don't stick it up your ass for days on end and you'll be fine. - savage1



30-90 Curie? Do you do radiography work? What sort of shielding do you use for a source that strong?
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 12:54:01 PM EDT

Originally Posted By eddiein1984:

Originally Posted By savage1:
I know a little about radiation. Let me qualify my comments by giving a little of my background. I am the radiation safety officer for my company, we have several machines that contain gamma and neutron sources. I handled fairly strong (30-90 curie sources) when working in the oilfield years ago. I have had multiple hours of training on how to handle sources, reporting problems, and all the paperwork nightmares dealing with radioactive materials (and believe me, it is a pain in the ass). First off. has your geiger counter been calibrated within the last year? If not, get it done by the manufacturer. If so, then if you are getting a very low reading on the material, as you state, then the exposure rate will be so low that it will have no ill effects to your physical person. And just so you know, it takes more radiation to sterilize you than it does to kill you. Unless you get exposed to massive amounts of radiation (highly unlikely for the average joe), you have nothing to worry about. Sounds like what you have is an interesting, but not dangerous, piece of history. Just don't stick it up your ass for days on end and you'll be fine. - savage1



30-90 Curie? Do you do radiography work? What sort of shielding do you use for a source that strong?



I'm not sure what type of work he did in the oilfield, but I've seen MWD and other tool hands bring out Cesium and Americium in big silver boxes. Not sure what the radiation strength of those elements are, or how much they carry but they put em in some serious boxes.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 12:58:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By savage1:
I know a little about radiation. Let me qualify my comments by giving a little of my background. I am the radiation safety officer for my company, we have several machines that contain gamma and neutron sources. I handled fairly strong (30-90 curie sources) when working in the oilfield years ago. I have had multiple hours of training on how to handle sources, reporting problems, and all the paperwork nightmares dealing with radioactive materials (and believe me, it is a pain in the ass). First off. has your geiger counter been calibrated within the last year? If not, get it done by the manufacturer. If so, then if you are getting a very low reading on the material, as you state, then the exposure rate will be so low that it will have no ill effects to your physical person. And just so you know, it takes more radiation to sterilize you than it does to kill you. Unless you get exposed to massive amounts of radiation (highly unlikely for the average joe), you have nothing to worry about. Sounds like what you have is an interesting, but not dangerous, piece of history. Just don't stick it up your ass for days on end and you'll be fine. - savage1



Your cover is blown. I'll bet you work at Pantex near Amarillo.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 1:02:13 PM EDT
Just for reference, an unshielded 30-90 Curie source would yield 30-90 REM (!) at 1m in an hour. That is a shitload of radiation. Picture Spock at the end of The Wrath of Khan.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 1:04:04 PM EDT

Originally Posted By ARDOC:
Well that explains a lot of things about you. People do suffer central nervous problems with prolonged radiation exposure.

I should have gave the free team membership to someone who would live long enough to enjoy it!



CentRaL nerrVuS proBLeMz? wHat neRvAl CeNTrUSs pRObLemS?


Originally Posted By savage1:
I know a little about radiation. Let me qualify my comments by giving a little of my background. I am the radiation safety officer for my company, we have several machines that contain gamma and neutron sources. I handled fairly strong (30-90 curie sources) when working in the oilfield years ago. I have had multiple hours of training on how to handle sources, reporting problems, and all the paperwork nightmares dealing with radioactive materials (and believe me, it is a pain in the ass). First off. has your geiger counter been calibrated within the last year? If not, get it done by the manufacturer. If so, then if you are getting a very low reading on the material, as you state, then the exposure rate will be so low that it will have no ill effects to your physical person. And just so you know, it takes more radiation to sterilize you than it does to kill you. Unless you get exposed to massive amounts of radiation (highly unlikely for the average joe), you have nothing to worry about. Sounds like what you have is an interesting, but not dangerous, piece of history. Just don't stick it up your ass for days on end and you'll be fine. - savage1



Thanks for the info. I can't say for sure if it was correctly calibrated, but I got the strong impression that it was (this took place in a high school physics room after school hours), since all the stuff from the "box - o - slightly radioactive stuff" in the teacher's office seemed correctly spread out accross the scale of radiation intensity. My friend I was with knew the teacher so he let the two of us play around with his stuff. The other two or three gieger counters we were playing with didn't even work. There was this one item (not kept in the box....the teacher kept it on a shelf above his desk...at head level.... ) that preplexes me to this day. It was an inch-or-so radius gray plastic cylinder. Measure one end, and you got nothing. Measure the other end, however, and the needle would go off the scale on the highest setting. We couldn't even hear individual clicks any more, it was almost like a solid noise. Nothing else we measured came remotely close the intensity of this mysterious object. The teacher always claimed that he had no idea where he got it from or what the heck it was.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 1:09:37 PM EDT
For those who don't know, the stuff we are talking about looks like this. It's called trinitite.

Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:09:15 PM EDT

Originally Posted By savage1:
Just don't stick it up your ass for days on end and you'll be fine. - savage1



But can he stick it up his ass for just a little while and still be ok?
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:11:39 PM EDT
When you find it, put it in your pocket so you don't lose it.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 2:15:39 PM EDT
if you dont wanna have kids and dont mind gettin cancer then just leave it where it is .

688
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 3:57:04 PM EDT
It won't hurt you, but your babies will have tails.
Link Posted: 1/1/2006 4:11:04 PM EDT
If the geiger counter used a regular detector, it wasn't very sensitive. You need one with a pancake-type sensor on it.
~~~~~
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