Date: Thu, 19 Nov 2009 11:29:12 -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: <2317fc9b0911181527q709d7b90x1d2a0d3189631399**At_Symbol_Here**>

I wanted to clarify a few issues that I pointed out in my previous
story email.  As I was made aware, it could be interpreted that
certain parties were at fault.

1. The radioactive salts were not involved in the incident.  They were
found later on in storage.
2. The chemicals being cleaned were very old.
3.  It was the university that took the radioactive salts and the
IMPRESSION I got is that they paid for them.  They did not originate
from the university.
4.  This is a story that was passed on to myself.  I have no actual
proof of anything, however i repeated it because it had lots of
relevance to safety.  It also gave Russ a possible angle to dispose of
his waste with minimal cost.

Sorry if anyone else was confused.


On Wed, Nov 18, 2009 at 6:27 PM, Andrew Gross  wrote:
> Russ,
> quite ironic your asking this question. =A0Yesterday 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. =A0when he got there, a teacher (or what appeared to
> be a teacher) was being carried out on a stretcher. =A0The lab was a
> complete war zone. =A0Here's what happened. =A0While 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. =A0Anyway, he decided to consolidate this oil with other oils
> and dispose of the rusty old drum and crap on the bottom. =A0So he
> rinsed out the drum and KAAAABOOOOOOOOOM. =A0Rocket scientist did not
> recognize a pyrophoric material what he saw one. =A0Lucky 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). =A0For the record, it was metallic
> sodium.
> So my boss was called in the finish the job. =A0Apparently 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. =A0So back then these were the toys. =A0He 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) =A0Remember when you were taught water
> and oil don't mix? =A0WELL 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 expe
> 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
>  wrote:
>> A local laboratory here has four bottles of thorium and uranium salts th
>> like to get rid of.=A0 Looking into it, I found it was going to cost clo
se 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 acce
>> this material.=A0 These are not RCRA hazardous, and the radioactivity ha
s to
>> be extremely low.=A0 The DOT numbers are 2909 and 2910; there doesn=92t 
>> 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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