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Attention scrappers! Be careful!!

Discussion in '++ Q & A THREADS OF INTEREST ++' started by Tony Wells, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. Tony Wells

    Tony Wells United States Vice President Staff Member Administrator

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    OK guys........I know some of you are getting material from scrapyards, and who knows where else. But it is important to know a little something about where the material comes from. Here's one example of why:


    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49045210/
     
  2. DMS

    DMS United States Active User Active Member

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    "Hey, anybody around here seen a small metal canister? Slightly, radioactive, big warning letters on it. Should you be worried? No no, nothing to be concerned about..."

    Whoops...
     
  3. pdentrem

    pdentrem Active User Active Member

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    Rant ON
    With all the x ray equipment and components being lost per year, there is enough material to make many dirty things attached to things that go boom and spread the debris over a large highly populated area to scare the masses. Until that happens there are no controls on the commercial use of fissionable materials that have any teeth. Not that we need more ridiculus laws but industry users are not helping things.

    At the local border crossing there are detectors that will sound off even after you went to the clinic for a CAT scan 2-3 days before. If one wanted to, just toss a smoke detector into the back of an open load truck and tie up the border for hrs or days, depending on the IQ of the local money wasters.

    Smoke detectors are considered Hazardous waste and are not picked up by garbage collection but they are not allowed at the Hazardous waste centers either. What is that about???? So the people just toss them in with the rest of the garbage and they are tossed into your local land waste site. Anybody want to go mining for fissionable materials?

    Rant OFF
    Pierre
     
  4. Tony Wells

    Tony Wells United States Vice President Staff Member Administrator

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    There are plenty of company rules and government regulations regarding the storage and handling of these materials. There is more material like this on the highways than most people know about, and around their homes, if they, like me, live in oilfield country. The problem right now, the way I'd guess is that because the industry is picking up, they are hiring less experienced hands, and perhaps they aren't taking this seriously enough. Those radioactive materials are specially containerized, and a strict CoC is supposed to be maintained at all times. Somewhere, someone is sweating on this one because when they find the paperwork, the last guy to sign for it will probably lose his job, and not be able to work in the field again. It's viewed pretty seriously, as it should be. That container, although not very large, or really all that potent as these things go, could easily poison a body of water that a municipality sources water from, or as mentioned earlier, spread atmospherically with not much technical knowledge or skill, or effort.

    In other industries who also have to deal with this and similar issues, we probably just don't hear about mishaps. I have read about this issue on an international scale and one that bothers me perhaps most is all the nuclear generators that were basically abandoned by the USSR. They issued small scale (two man carry sized) generators for their far north observation stations that were no longer needed after the breakup. Now, the material gives off a nice warmth, and farmers are using them for space heaters! But many (dozens? hundreds?) are completely unaccounted for. And they are much larger and more potent than this little package Halliburton lost.
     
  5. bcall2043

    bcall2043 United States Active User Active Member

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    Tony,

    Thanks for the warning. The scrap yard that I haunt went down the path of reciving radioactive material in the past and after the big cleanup, installed sensors at the entrance. Hopefully this will prevent it happening again. Anyone using a scrap yard for a source of materials might ask to see if their material source uses the same precautions. However I will be more carefull about picking up materials along the road being sure to read all warning labels before getting very close.

    Benny
     
  6. aliva

    aliva Active User Active Member

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    A couple of years ago the company I work for lost a small nuclear source( its used to monitor flow in process piping). Any way, Automic Energy Canada does a yealy aduit, We have around 50-60 of these units on site, during the audit they detected 1 unit missing. The company spent close to $200,000.00 digging up landfill site on the property but never found it.
    They also paid a huge fine.
     
  7. Tom Griffin

    Tom Griffin United States Active User Active Member

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    I love this quote:

    "It's not something that produces radiation in an extremely dangerous form," said Chris Van Deusen, a spokesman for the Texas Department of State Health Services. "But it’s best for people to stay back, 20 or 25 feet."

    Having to stay back 25 or 30 feet makes it sound pretty dangerous to me. :confused:

    Tom
     
  8. Tony Wells

    Tony Wells United States Vice President Staff Member Administrator

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    That made me chuckle too, Tom. If it will put you at risk @ 25 feet, that's dangerous. Makes you wonder where they get the guys who write this stuff. I wonder if it's turned up yet.

    Maybe they draw the line between making you sick on a temporary basis, like sick at your stomach or a headache @ 25 feet, and make all your hair fall out or burn your hand if you pick it up. Who knows?
     
  9. richbuss

    richbuss Iron Registered Member

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    Ya that sounds pretty sketchy to me, something's not right there!
     
  10. dickr

    dickr United States Active User Active Member

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    Hey anybody for woodworking ?
    I got a giant stump of cottonwood !

    dickr
     
  11. jpfabricator

    jpfabricator United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Me and my son went to the scrapyard this morning, and they checked the entire truck and trailer with a gieger counter before they would even let you on the scale.
     
  12. 4gsr

    4gsr Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I caught the tail end of a news report yesterday saying they found the radioactive device. I missed the part on where it was found. The scare is over with, except for those that handled the device.
     
  13. 4gsr

    4gsr Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Being down here in oilfield country, everything that goes into a junk yard is "sniffed" before they will take it. Be susprised what goes down hole comes back "radioactive" in some areas.

    I worked for a company that built and rebuilt gas processing equipment. Their policy was anything "used" or claimed "new" did not enter the yard without being sniffed before acceptance. Be susprise at the stuff they turned back! People would get mad, too, for what they though was BS. Some of it was so affected, it could be picked up by a NASA satlelight!
     
  14. Tom Griffin

    Tom Griffin United States Active User Active Member

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  15. joesmith

    joesmith United States Active User Active Member

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    A San Antonio tv station reported that it was found on the side of a road in west Texas yesterday evening as I recall. Joe
     
  16. george wilson

    george wilson United States Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Years ago in the 80's I heard about a guy who found out that he had radioactive scrap yard metal in his home shop. I borrowed a Geiger counter and checked my metal. We have ship yards in this area that build aircraft carriers with nuclear power,and other stuff. It might pay to be careful if you don't know where your found metals have been. I heard back before the radio active metal story that a college here had lost a radioactive source. I don't know if they ever found it.
     
  17. PerryRT

    PerryRT United States Iron Registered Member

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    I spent some time in the Navy working with radiation. The advice given here wasn't bad, really, but it's probably more an "abundance of caution" thing. I suppose they're figuring that by the time someone was to identify it as the missing source, they already had enough exposure to warrant moving away. Plus, as I recall, the exposure limits for the "general public" are a lot lower than those allowed for radiation workers, so the permissable exposure times would be a lot lower than for those working with sources professionally, and the recommendations would be... conservative.

    But the truly sad part is, of course, is that you can't tell that something like this is radioactive without specialized equipment (unless it's SO radioactive you can see the glow...which is both unlikely and REALLY bad news.) There are nuke worker horror stories about source loss - a guy picking up what he thought was a piece of mislaid equipment and sticking it in his back pocket - really nasty stuff.
     
  18. mx5mke

    mx5mke United States Active Member Active Member

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    Nobody's really tracking medical radiation sources very well, especially 'elsewhere'

    According to Wikipedia, "The Goiânia accident was a radioactive contamination accident that occurred on September 13, 1987, at Goiânia, in the Brazilian state of Goiás after an old radiotherapy source was stolen from an abandoned hospital site in the city. It was subsequently handled by many people, resulting in four deaths. About 112,000 people were examined for radioactive contamination and 249 were found to have significant levels of radioactive material in or on their body.[SUP][1][/SUP][SUP][2][/SUP] In the cleanup operation, topsoil had to be removed from several sites, and several houses were demolished. All the objects from within those houses were removed and examined.Time magazine has identified the accident as one of the world's "worst nuclear disasters" and the International Atomic Energy Agency called it "one of the world's worst radiological incidents".[SUP][3][/SUP][SUP][4]"[/SUP]

    From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goiânia_accident
     
  19. jocat54

    jocat54 Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Way back when I worked the oil field for a service company (wireline) we had the pigs misplaced a few times. All else quits until they are found. It was a really serious thing.

    One actually fell off a truck and was found on the side of the highway.....needless to say the driver no longer was employed.

    My badge turned up positive one time and scared the heck out of me. It was a false positive....so they said. I didn't glow in the dark though:thumbsup:
     
  20. Dunc1

    Dunc1 Canada Active User Active Member

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    A little OT but relevant
    I vaguely recall a news article about a youngster in the US who wanted to investigate nuclear physics. Had himself quite a little party and needed a hell of a clean-up by the regulatory agencies. Lots of radioactive debris to haul away.

    Link: http://harpers.org/archive/1998/11/the-radioactive-boy-scout/
     
  21. Scott 153

    Scott 153 Canada Iron Registered Member

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    You just never know.:whiteflag:
     
  22. Syaminab

    Syaminab Active User Active Member

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    25 or some ago, corrugated rod mill purchased radioactive steel from the US. Resulted in hundreds of cancer cases, you could see the people with geiger counters in strange to us suites, we called them ET suites as they looked like those in the ET movie, walking into all construction erected in the period, over 600 of them demolished. This happened in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Thanks to corrupted junk brokers. We did not have nuke plants then, still have only one in the whole country. And it will happen again, continues to happen with PCB's in old transformers junked and sold as steel.
     
  23. R.G.

    R.G. Active User Active Member

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    I have two functioning geiger counters. One was a Naval surplus unit for $50 from ebay and the other was a DIY electronics kit from Electronics Goldmine for $29.

    My wife and neighbors no doubt think I'm crazy, and will continue to do so - until one of those things starts chattering one day.

    By the way, the yellow civil defense boxes with the integral handle and meter (as opposed to the similar unit with a separate metal probe on a curly cord) are useless. They are insensitive enough that they tell you that you have already had a fatal dose.
     
  24. core-oil

    core-oil United Kingdom Active User Active Member

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    Over here in Scotland, there has been at least a couple of real scary occurances, The first one to spring to mind was in the late 1960 period, when a firm who manufactured instrumentation equipment with luminous dials closed down, Then began a horror story, from the little snippets i have heard, this particular works was buldozed, and all the debris put in a deep landfill, The site where the factory was situated, was dug down & at least two feet of whinstone was compacted in place,
    I do not know if it is true but according to a rumour, the site is still monitored 50 years later
    I wonder should this be true what was the fate of the workforce?

    The second situation which is still ongoing, was an ex Naval aircraft servicing depot 1939-45 war establishment was closed in the late 1940/s, & the aircraft & spare stuff was trashed, Old instrument dials cockpit display stuff etc, taken down to the sea, & dumped slightly out in the bay, Now in these more enlightened days they have found the beach is full of hot spots,of radiation,in this particular bay Now it is cordoned off & a massive clean up looks to be underway

    Sometimes i wonder if Homer Simpson is alive &well with his bright green radioactive billet!
     
  25. Jericho

    Jericho United States Active User Active Member

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    Bigger scrap yards can detect a luminous dial in a trailer load of scrap that you've been driving down the road with for years and you haven't mutated yet before it crosses their scales. This is a lot ado about nothing. Claims of a minute radioactive source ( smoke alarm) contaminating a water aquifer are grossly exaggerated and last but not least, the longer it is radioactive, the less the emissions. Neutron conversion from alpha emitters rarely even interact with tissue since they have no electric charge like beta emissions. If it has a radioactive marker on it, leave it alone and tell the authorities about it. I haven't read anything in this post that tells me anyone here knows anything about fissionable materials.
     
  26. dieseldriver47

    dieseldriver47 United States Iron Registered Member

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    Do a google for "Auburn Steel Company radioactive contamination". As I recall, they received a cesium source in its steel ball container in the scrap and melted it down. Lots of contaminated products, a contaminated melt shop, a contaminated dust collection plant, and some very worried employees. I think this incident was the cause for the present detectors at every scrap yard and steel mill. The craneman remembered moving a steel ball he thought was merely a wrecking ball. It was suspected an unknown pipeline company had an Xray machine that used the cesium source. It was suspected this company was financially failing and instead of disposing of the cesium in the proper manner, which was quite expensive, it secured the cesium in its steel ball container and sold it for scrap. The NRC had no idea where it might have come from. An Auburn employee who was given the task of checking on old stock piled civil defense materials found several radiation detectors showing significant indications when he turned them on in an area that should not have had any significant radioactivity. As far as I know they never found where the cesium origionally came from. I wonder if they check incoming chinese steel products for radiation? jrh
     
  27. jrs591

    jrs591 Iron Registered Member

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    I wish I could get some but it would probably be expensive to ship.

    John
     
  28. cobraJack

    cobraJack United States Active Member Active Member

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    A problem for scrap yards and oild pipeyards is radioactive material refered to as NORM. Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) is found in some oilfield pipe. As a well is produced, sulfates of Barium and other natural substances from underground come up with the oils and can "plate" out on the walls of the pipe. When pipe from an old well is pulled from the well and sent to a pipeyard or scrap yard it needs to be checked with radiation detectors - hence why yards now have detectors at the gate.

    Side note. The oilfield source talked about in the OP produced Neutrons. these are not detected with a regular geiger counter. Those are good for beta and gamma radiation. Special detectors are needed to detect alpha, x-rays, and neutron radiation. So don't think by waving a geiger counter (or scintillation detector either) around and it comes up clear that all is OK. FYI. (I was a health physics technician at a Cyclotron for a while in a previous life. my job was finding and decontaminating stuff)

    So - How's that for making everyone paranoid.:thinking:

    Jack
     
  29. rogersud

    rogersud Active Member Active Member

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    Years ago when I worked as tool maker, I took a job working for a guy who bought almost nothing new. All of his equipment was bought at bankruptcy auctions. For one of my first projects, I had to build a small assembly press. I explained that to get started, I would need something to use as a base: a sheet of plywood would have been fine. He walked me into a large room lined on three walls, from floor to ceiling, with shelves full of really old jigs and small presses and tooling, etc: lots of rust and dust. He pointed to one and said take the base off that. I disassembled it for what looked like a 3/4' thick aluminum plate.

    Once I had the base plate separated from the other parts and felt its weight, I instantly knew that it wasn't aluminum. It was way-too light. I called the boss over and showed it to him. He argued that it was aluminum. I sliced a thin sliver off it at the band saw, held it in pliers and put into a torch flame. It burned so bright that we couldn't look at it, proving that the plate was in-fact solid magnesium, which could be quite hazardous to machine without proper fire suppressing chemicals on hand. A build-up of magnesium chips is very flammable. Sparks will fly off cutters and blades if you cut it dry; igniting the chips. Water actually feeds the fire, making it burn even hotter.

    Natually, I didn't stay in that dump very long. It is true, you really need to know what you're buying. Do be careful!

    Rog
     
  30. cbtrek

    cbtrek Active User Active Member

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    Better to be safe then sorry!

    :whiteflag:
     

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