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Depleted Uranium

  1. Jan 20, 2016 #1
    Found this recently. Anyone know where it came from and what I can or should do with it? Thanks.

    Attached Files:

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 20, 2016 #2


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    I guess it's a counter-weight or balance for something. Uranium is nearly twice as dense as lead so it is pretty useful for such purposes. Not sure what you could do with it but it might be valuable.
  4. Jan 20, 2016 #3

    jim hardy

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    Wow - and i thought i had some unusual junkyard finds.....

    Have you tried a search on
    "National Lead" Uranium ?

    As unusual as that thing is,
    and what a great guillotine log splitter it'd make,
    the phrase "Depleted Uranium" scares people.
    were it mine
    i'd contact somebody familiar with radiation protection and ask them to come 'swipe' it, meaning see if it has radioactive dust on it. I'm lucky, have a son-in-law in that field.
    Maybe you live near a nuke plant or medical facility and know somebody who works there?

    If not, i'd call USNRC
    and explain "I found this thing and want to assure myself it's not a liability ."

    you want an outfit that understands uranium lest you get bureaucratic over-reaction and a scene like this great one from ET :


    Hopefully they'll tell you it's okay and give you some documentation to that effect.

    Meantime i'd put on some gloves and a dust mask, wrap it up in plastic , stash it out of the weather, bag the gloves & mask and keep them with it.
    Then take a nice hot shower.

    my two cents
    probably i'm over-cautious
    better safe than sorry
    you don't want to turn up "EPA Positive" .

    old jim
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016
  5. Jan 20, 2016 #4
    Well I don't like the idea of getting some government agency involved. I'll wrap it up and place it in a lead container and see if I can find someone interested in taking it off my hands.
  6. Jan 20, 2016 #5


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    That way, government agencies get really interested in it...
  7. Jan 20, 2016 #6
    No need for lead. The paint already stops the alpha particles. The only risk of uranium is ingestion or inhalation of dust, and then the chemical toxicity is also a concern.
  8. Jan 20, 2016 #7


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    It may have been improperly disposed of, so one should call the state health department or whatever department regulates industrial or hazardous waste, and find out how get it properly dispositioned.

    Uranium is a heavy metal and ingested it may be harmful to certain organs, like the kidneys. It's not so much a radiological hazard as a chemical hazard.
  9. Jan 20, 2016 #8

    jim hardy

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    EBAY ?

    As Piet says
    alpha particles don't go very far, paint will seal them up.
    I'd brush not spray.

    My only worry about that thing is you dont know its history. If it's got broke inside and is shedding DU (Depleted Uranium) particles it needs to be re-sealed and cleaned up after.

    Probably it's just fine

    but i wouldn't have brought it home .

    old jim
  10. Jan 21, 2016 #9


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    At a guess, I’d say that is probably the trailing-edge counterweight from the horizontal stabiliser of an (early model) Boeing 747.

    At one time the Boeing Company used to accept them back from customers for recycling. However, Boeing stopped using DU in the early-mid eighties (replaced it with tungsten, I believe) so they might not be too keen to take it off your hands now.

    You could try giving the Boeing Company a call. Even if they won’t take it back (assuming it really is a Boeing part) they might be able to advise on safe disposal.
  11. Jan 21, 2016 #10
    Where are you located?
  12. Jan 21, 2016 #11

    jim hardy

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    DU is worth better part of $100 a pound per some DOE site i saw

    it's also not legal to "abandon" it under the 'general license'
    so document where & how you got it
  13. May 29, 2016 #12

    jim hardy

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    I know this is an old thread

    That'd make great ballast for a sailboat keel. Where is it located ?
  14. May 29, 2016 #13


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    I'm not sure how general that statement is. The ZEUS experiment at HERA got depleted uranium from the DOE, after decommissioning the detector the DOE didn't want to take it back. This talk discusses how to get rid of it as well, ZEUS is mentioned on slide 18.
  15. May 30, 2016 #14


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    Paint won't stop all the 49.5 keV gamma decay from U238.
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