Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2009 18:27:36 -0500
Reply-To: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Andrew Gross <gross.drew**At_Symbol_Here**GMAIL.COM>
Subject: Re: radioactive salts
Comments: To: rphifer**At_Symbol_Here**
In-Reply-To: <007501ca686d$0bee48d0$23cada70$**At_Symbol_Here**com>


quite ironic your asking this question.  Yesterday my boss was telling
me a story, which I am going to tell because it has huge relevance to
this group, but also answers your question in a smaller way.

one day, he was called by a local high school for an emergency lab
pack/fire clean up.  when he got there, a teacher (or what appeared to
be a teacher) was being carried out on a stretcher.  The lab was a
complete war zone.  Here's what happened.  While cleaning up the lab
of old chemicals (something a "science" teacher should not be doing,
and job that should be left to a scientists) he came upon a small
degrading drum of oil with some solid clumps on the bottom.

At this point I was histerical in the story because I immediately knew
where this story was going, and you, my fellow scientists probably
know also.  Anyway, he decided to consolidate this oil with other oils
and dispose of the rusty old drum and crap on the bottom.  So he
rinsed out the drum and KAAAABOOOOOOOOOM.  Rocket scientist did not
recognize a pyrophoric material what he saw one.  Lucky for him the
fume hood was almost completely closed and his injuries were mostly
from flash and the shrapnel blowing through the hood (as well as the
shrapnel formally known as hood).  For the record, it was metallic

So my boss was called in the finish the job.  Apparently the teacher
was new, and all this crap was from the 1940's when kids weren't
stupid and science was more important then formulating an excuse for
Darwin.  So back then these were the toys.  He found some radioactive
salts and apparently was able to sell them to the local university.
Granted, were talking about SUNY Stony Brook with its intensive
science programs and use for the salts, you might find a similar
school near you (penn state?)

Summary of the story:
1.KISS (Keep it simple STUPID)  Remember when you were taught water
and oil don't mix?  WELL THEY DON'T!!!!!
2.When in doubt, call a professional.
3.Reciting a lower level text book to 20 people does not make you an expert
4.Pyrophorics can be fun in the right hands
5.Universities will pay you for things that you don't want anymore
(that ones for you Russ)
6.The 1940's were far cooler then today, just look at the toys they had.
7.And I will write another email for this one...DON'T PUT NITRILE

Andrew Gross
Senior (and occasionally reckless) Chemist
Environmental Testing Labs, NY

On Wed, Nov 18, 2009 at 11:34 AM, Russ Phifer
> A local laboratory here has four bottles of thorium and uranium salts the
> like to get rid of.=A0 Looking into it, I found it was going to cost clos
e to
> $4000 to transport and dispose of less than a pound of material at a
> facility in Houston; this is the only facility I can find that will accep
> this material.=A0 These are not RCRA hazardous, and the radioactivity has
> be extremely low.=A0 The DOT numbers are 2909 and 2910; there doesn=92t a
> to be any difficulty shipping them.
> My question is - what are other labs doing to dispose of this type of
> material?=A0 Is it possible to encase them in concrete or another inert
> material and dispose in a municipal system?=A0 Is there anyone recycling 
> salts?=A0 Any ideas?
> Thanks=85.
> Russ Phifer
> Russ Phifer
> WC Environmental, LLC
> 1085C Andrew Drive
> West Chester, PA=A0 19380
> 610-696-9220x12/ fax 610-344-7519
> rphifer**At_Symbol_Here**
> P Please consider your environmental responsibility before printing this
> e-mail or any other document

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