[ RadSafe ] Disposal of contaminated whiskey

parthasarathy k s ksparth at yahoo.co.uk
Tue Mar 13 06:18:14 CDT 2007


Soon after the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power station took place, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board initiated a monitoring programme  for food especially milk products imported in bulk quantities. Many other items were also tested.

A consumer organisation wanted to test choccolates. A few eyebrows were raised when the laboratory asked a for a few kilogramme of the stuff!  

At least in one country there was a debate on the disposal of contaminated food stuff. They did not realize that the food is active enough as food but innocuous as radioactive material

It was rumoured that those in our lab were keen to test a few bottles of choicest whiskey; disposal of it may not have been a serious issue!

Funds collected by the lab through food monitoring was a substantial part of the revenue for a few years immediately following the reactor accident!

I have used a packet of radium-containing fertilizer as a source in our lab. We made an instrument containing a row of Geiger Mueller counters to demonstrate the presence of radioactivity.The output pulses from the counters were made to trigger a bulb; there was also an audio circruit which made  crackling sounds when  a box of beach sands( monazite) was brought near the counters.



----- Original Message ----
From: Jeff Terry <terryj at iit.edu>
To: radsafe <radsafe at radlab.nl>
Sent: Tuesday, 13 March, 2007 7:25:39 AM
Subject: Re: [ RadSafe ] LAT Article: Florida pawnshop's radioactive surprise("Yellow cake")

Reminds me of an experiment that I did in a class that I taught a few  
years ago.

We ashed 100 pounds (45 kg) of bananas to isolate the potassium. Did  
the store clerk every give us a dirty look when we were checking out.  
I think that she thought we were a bit disjointed.

Anyway, we isolated 200 g of potassium from the 45 kg of bananas so  
about 24 mg was K-40.

We counted it with a low energy Ge detector, low efficiency but could  
observe a peak.

The students really liked that experiment. You need to be careful  
with those "hot" bananas.


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