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Amazon selling Uranium ore? Isn't that illegal?

  1. Dec 6, 2009 #1
    Ok, this surprised me. I'm doing a science project on superconductivity, so I was browsing the web for chemistry and physics stuff and I saw some experiments that looked interesting (solidifying liquid nitrogen) on youtube. I wondered where they got the chemicals because I thought it would be illegal, but I googled it and saw a place. What shocked me is that people are selling Uranium ore. Isn't that illegal?

    Did anyone else here know about this?

    I found out that it's a joke on amazon, but one place is selling it. I'm not sure if I should post the name here.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 6, 2009 #2


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    Why - you can dig it up out of the ground you know
    It's very low activity - the label says 200counts/min, and uranium is an alpha emitter it's pretty safe. Alphas are stopped by skin.

    A smoke detector source is about 1micro-curie, about 10,000 times more active.
    Your body emits about 5000 counts/sec from radioactive postassion.

    ps. some of the comments are brilliant
  4. Dec 6, 2009 #3
    I didn't think it was actually dangerous, but I thought the government would be completely on top of this because of all the troubles in the middle east. If you google United Nuclear they have one that says it's highly radioactive...

    And yes, the comments are amazing.
  5. Dec 6, 2009 #4


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    It would be a rather expensive way of producing uranium - compared to buying it by the ship load form Canada or Kazakhstan!
    Uranium ore is generally only 0.1% U and then U235 is < 1% of U so you could probably do more damage by hitting someone with the tin.
  6. Dec 6, 2009 #5
    Ebay has plenty of radioactive materials on sale, from uraninites, thorium mantles, and glowing key chains filled with tritium.

    Utah seems to be a popular place to go on uranium hunting:

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  7. Dec 6, 2009 #6


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    Oh lordy, I love it!

    "I purchased this product 4.47 Billion Years ago and when I opened it today, it was half empty. "
  8. Dec 6, 2009 #7
    So, this really isn't dangerous or illegal?

    https://unitednuclear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2_4&products_id=464 [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  9. Dec 6, 2009 #8


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    Illegal would depend on your local regulations.
    A mole of U238 produces about 3alpha and 6beta * million events/second.
    The source claims 60,000 counts/minute = 1000 counts/s so there is only about 0.001 - 0.0001 mol of U present

    The highest grade ore (from Canada) is about 20% Uranium so a fist sized rock of natural ore would have a higher activity than this. And it's perfectly safe to work in the mine (although you do get your boots washed down afterwards !)
  10. Dec 6, 2009 #9


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    AFAIK, even medium-enriched, lightwater-reactor grade uranium is fairly safe to handle, with some minimal protections.

    (Google 'nuclear fuel pellet' and you'll find any number of pictures of people holding them, if with gloves.)

    Recall, if there's a nuclear meltdown, it's not really the uranium people are worried about. Not as much as the cesium and radioactive iodine and other fission products which are much more radioactive.
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2009
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