Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Nukyular storage.

"Hey, Cletus! Where do you want me to put this here weapons-grade plutonium?"

Somewhere a Gaia-lovin' hippie just stroked out.

15 comments:

Rick R said...

WOW! Nuclear Bomb in a Bucket...

Heath said...

"We're the only ones professional enough to handle nukyular weapon pieces parts."


Oughta toss that sucker on the Capital steps, and give those politicians something else to worry about that doesn't involve spending us into oblivion.

Mikee said...

The red writing on the bottle: ~20g La3+, indicates that while it may contain some of the world's first concentrated Plutonium, it does not contain anywhere near 8kg of refined Pu239. Think about it - for one thing, that would be a priceless amount (especially in 1944) of weapons grade material! It would have been used, not buried. From the pictures posted, this writing on the bottle is original to the 1944 burial of the safe, and the bottle contains refining waste.

This picture reminds me: After the rout of the Taliban in Afghanistan, several professors at the university in Kabul revealed that they had kept hidden all their nuclear materials - enough to make a very dirty bomb, at least - in the university basement for all the years of the Taliban government, to keep it out of the hands of the crazies.

I am impressed about two things: first, that the Hanford cleanup is progressing so well, with recovery of contaminated items from their original burial pits for safer disposal and storage, and second, that the glass bottle survived both the burial (with temperature fluctuations) and the digging with a backhoe.

Having worked with some folks who handled nuclear materials in industrial settings, they are quite aware of the dangers involved. I am sure they are all glad the money is being spent to recover harmful materials from their burial pits in the Hanford reservation, for safer storage.

perlhaqr said...

Hey, look! It's the missing WMD! :D

Rick R said...

perlhaqr wins the InterwEb!!

JHardin said...

> From the pictures posted, this writing on the bottle is original to the 1944 burial of the safe,

The narrative of the pictures say the safe was buried in 1951.

E said...

Back when I worked for the guv'mint back up LabRat and Stingray's way, we were R&D'ing a next gen "smart" (quotes mine) security system to prevent little gems like that from walking about of nuclear facilities.

Yep, they cut our funding.

(btw, nice Tux, JHardin. You sure know how to accessorize your formal wear.)

The Tarquin said...

My dad used to be one of the safety engineers at the Hanford Reservation. (I grew up in Kennewick, WA, just down the river.) He got in on the ground floor in the 80s when they were saying "Well, uh, they're telling us we need to clean up our radioactive waste. We've pretty much just been dumping it out back for 4 decades." They had VERY spotty records about what was out there, how it was stored, or even where it was buried.

His first job? Audit the big underground casks they "knew" about. Turns out about half of them weren't where they thought they were. The ones that were often weren't stored the way the records indicated or didn't contain the type of waste they thought they did. My dad spent the next 15 years (until his retirement) developing ways to check what was in the casks without cracking them open and letting the nasty out.

This article just goes to show that they're STILL finding stuff from the Bad Old Days when they didn't keep records of the stuff or give any thought to disposal.

Tam said...

"Pfffft! Gamma radiation? It's good for you! Kills germs!" :D

B Smith said...

Doesn't an overdose of gamma radiation turn you into The Hulk? :-D

I grew up not far from the Fernald plant in Southwest Ohio. The Tarquin's comment sounds like a few descriptions I've heard about the cleanup out there.

CaptainAttila said...

The mess the .gov made of the Hanford Reservation is truly amazing, but there was a war on, so I think we can cut them some slack. Besides, supporting the cleanup is how I get my ammunition money!

staghounds said...

We only hear about "weapons grade" plutonium.

What other kinds are there, "decoration quality", or "table grade"?

And yes, Perlhaqr does win.

Gewehr98 said...

Nowhere near enough Pu-239 in that bottle to do anything other than contaminate folks. The stuff was/is too valuable to dump in any usable quantities.

Now, if there are a few thousand other safes buried out there with trace amounts of Pu-239, then you might have something!

Hanford is just the tip of the iceberg. Savannah River and Idaho National Laboratory are the next newsworthy digs in the whole radiation cleanup scheme of things, I guarantee...

Today's Hilarious Word Verification: "Ploder"

The itty bitty amount of Pu-239 in that glass jar makes a piss-poor 'ploder.

Tam said...

The New Scientist article says mℓ; could they have meant μℓ?

reflectoscope said...

The writing says, "~20g LaF3 wastes. For recovery." Then, "~20g LaF3." LaF3 apparently has some uses regarding radioactivity, but where they get plutonium from that label alone is beyond me. I don't suggest that it doesn't contain any plutonium, but that label doesn't say anything to me about there being any of it in that jar.

More information is required!

Jim