[ RadSafe ] LAT Article: Florida pawnshop's radioactive surprise("Yellow cake")
Conklin, Al (DOH)
Al.Conklin at DOH.WA.GOV
Mon Mar 12 11:44:44 CDT 2007
It's a good thing they don't know what I've got buried around my office;
"deadly" red fiesta ware, several "nuclear" autonite crystals, about
three dozen "dangerous" lantern mantles, a "life threatening" radium
dial clock and a compass, a can of "horrifying" salt substitute. When I
go out to do training, and take along my props, I'm a walking nuclear
nightmare. I might even take a "hot" banana for my lunch.
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On
Behalf Of John Jacobus
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2007 9:15 AM
To: radsafe; know_nukes at yahoogroups.com
Subject: [ RadSafe ] LAT Article: Florida pawnshop's radioactive
Florida pawnshop's radioactive surprise
A small amount of yellowcake uranium is discovered among rocks from an
By Stephen Hudak
March 12, 2007
BELLEVIEW, FLA. - Every blue moon or so, collectibles dealer and
pawnshop owner Frank Cafaro stumbles upon a buried gem among an estate's
junk and tchotchkes.
His latest find was so alarming he called firefighters.
"We were in the warehouse and we pulled out this box of rocks from an
estate sale," Cafaro said.
"Everything was individually labeled. Amethyst. Topaz.
Uranium. The guy I'm working with says, 'What's that last one? Uranium?
I think that's illegal.' "
Within an hour, Gold Mine Pawn was swarming last week with about three
dozen emergency workers, including Geiger-counter-waving members of a
hazardous materials team and the Marion County Sheriff's Office domestic
security task force.
They focused on a container the size of a soup can.
Labeled with radioactive markings, the container protected a vial that
held about an ounce of yellowcake uranium, a processed mineral that, in
larger quantities, could be used to make fuel for nuclear reactors or
enriched for weapons.
In 2003, President Bush justified the decision to invade Iraq, in part,
on a now-discredited intelligence report that claimed former Iraqi
President Saddam Hussein had tried to buy tons of yellowcake, presumably
to manufacture weapons of mass destruction.
"It was kind of scary when I heard how terrible this stuff was," Cafaro
The mineral, which Cafaro traced to an estate sale in Miami about 10
years ago, was turned over to the Florida Department of Health for
Yellowcake, also known as uranium oxide, is far from being a
weapons-grade material, said Talat Rahman, chairman of the physics
department at the University of Central Florida. She said it did not
pose a serious threat in small quantities.
"Yellowcake by itself is not dangerous," Rahman said.
"It has to be processed to be converted into something dangerous."
Sharon Gogerty, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Law
Enforcement, said small amounts of yellowcake were reported to the
agency "on a regular basis" and were not considered especially
"We must face the fact that the United States is neither omnipotent or
omniscient - that we are only 6 percent of the world's population; that
we cannot impose our will upon the other 94 percent of mankind; that we
cannot right every wrong or reverse each adversity; and therefore there
cannot be an American solution to every world problem."
-- John F. Kennedy
John Jacobus, MS
Certified Health Physicist
e-mail: crispy_bird at yahoo.com
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