# What to do with Depleted Uranium?

## Main Question or Discussion Point

Found this recently. Anyone know where it came from and what I can or should do with it? Thanks.

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QuantumPion
Gold Member
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.

jim hardy
Gold Member
2019 Award
Dearly Missed
Wow - and i thought i had some unusual junkyard finds.....

Have you tried a search on

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

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Garlic
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.

mfb
Mentor
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.
That way, government agencies get really interested in it...

mister mishka
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.
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.

Astronuc
Staff Emeritus
http://www.nrc.gov/materials/fuel-cycle-fac/ur-deconversion/faq-depleted-ur-decon.html#2
What is the current method for disposing of depleted uranium?

Depleted uranium is primarily stored at the enrichment facilities in the form of uranium hexafluoride (UF6), a chemical form required for enrichment but not optimal for long-term storage. This depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) is typically stored in 14-ton cylinders near the enrichment facilities. Processed depleted uranium may be sold for commercial uses such as counterweights, military penetrators, shielding, etc. Alternatively, material may be transferred to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a fee. It may also be disposed of at commercial disposal sites if the material meets the site's disposal criteria.
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.

jim hardy
Gold Member
2019 Award
Dearly Missed
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.
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

Garlic
Daz
Gold Member
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.

Where are you located?

jim hardy
Gold Member
2019 Award
Dearly Missed
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 jim hardy Science Advisor Gold Member 2019 Award Dearly Missed I know this is an old thread That'd make great ballast for a sailboat keel. Where is it located ? mfb Mentor DU is worth better part of$100 a pound per some DOE site i saw
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.

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

Found this recently. Anyone know where it came from and what I can or should do with it? Thanks.
I should preface this by saying I realize that this thread is 3.5 years old; I would be using the private message system but it won't allow me to message Wazzu890 for some reason.

Is this by any chance still in your possession? I've been in the element-collecting business for a few years now, and this is the first I've seen one of these counterweights.

If in USA, Just don't store more than 15 pounds at one time or over 150 pounds per year total. check NRC rules they change frequently since 9/11.
George Dowell