[ RadSafe ] RE: 20 uCi Radium Check Sources Madame Curie had observed explosive releases frof radium sourcess

parthasarathy k s ksparth at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Aug 18 20:42:48 CDT 2006

As a matter of fact, the contribution from helium in radium sources of a few tens of microcuries will be insignificant. More important contribution comes from hydrogen and oxygen released due ro radiation dissociation of water molecules likely to be present if the radium salt was not dried well before preparing the sealed sources. It was happening during the early years when the salts used were hygroscopic. But that possibility was less later as radium salts were heated well to release all water vapour before sealing it in tubes.

A few years ago, Elezebath Rona a contemporary of Madame Curie wrote (I believe it was in Health Phys) that there were instances in which sealed glass containers containing radiunm exploded while they were being  handled by Madame Curie!

  K.S.Parthasarathy Ph.D
  (Formerly, Secretary, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, India)
  Raja Ramanna Fellow
  Strategic Planning Group
  Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences
  Department of Atomic Energy
  GN 18, Vikram Sarabhai Bhavan
  Mumbai 400094, INDIA
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----- Original Message ----
From: alstonchris at netscape.net
To: syd.levine at mindspring.com; radsafe at radlab.nl
Sent: Friday, 18 August, 2006 11:08:23 PM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] RE: 20 uCi Radium Check Sources


Ra/Rn is alpha emitter.  Capsules can rupture as a result of the buildup of helium therein.  Note that the Ra-226 inhalation ALI is 0.6 uCi (FGR 11).


"Syd H. Levine" <syd.levine at mindspring.com> wrote:

>I have an opportunity to acquire two 20 microcurie Radium API traceable 
>calibration sources, but I am concerned about the Radium content.  Can some 
>of you experts educate me on why a small sealed Radium source is such a big 
>deal?  I am told there are regulatory concerns, and I am told that disposing 
>of these puny little 20 microcurie sources could cost many thousands of 
>dollars.  I am also told that the Radon produced inside the source capsule 
>could cause leakage; is there any truth to this last concern.
>Thanks in advance for any information you may be able to offer.
>Syd H. Levine
>AnaLog Services, Inc.

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