A new haul

From: Mike Cesari <mcesari_at_comcast.net>
Date: Sat Feb 5 15:56:24 2005

On Feb 5, 2005, at 10:49 AM, Tom Jennings wrote:

> On Fri, 4 Feb 2005, Ashley Carder wrote:
>>>> I thought Ed Kelleher had hit the jackpot here with a PDP-8
>>>> with all the trimmings (TU56, etc.), but it turned out to
>>>> be radioactive, I think.
>>> cool!, Nightlight!
>>> How radioactive was it? Dangerous?
>> I don't want to say too much on things where I don't know
>> all the details, but yes, I believe it was too radioactive
>> for them to allow it to be taken away.
> Really?! How is this possible? It generally only happens during
> spectacular disasters, eg. Chernobyl/TMI, and only where the
> equipment was directly exposed to isotope soup.
> Sitting-right-next-to- a-cube-of-Cesium won't make things
> radioactive; it doesn't work that way at less than reactor-core
> neutron densities.
> If there was some lab/etc even that sprayed or distributed some
> radioactuve substance such that equipment in proximity to people
> was THAT contaminated, it's a MAJOR disaster, even if physically
> relatively small.
> And even then, scrubbing with soapy water will wash off
> contaminents (to go down the drain into the water & food supply).
> So what's the story?

A particle accelerator could do it. (Think SLAC (Stanford Linear
or the Tevatron at Fermilab.) Low-level radiation (alpha particle
but enough to alert site safety people and require enough DOT paperwork
shield the device. Stuff like this generally sits for a few years until
levels go down to background.

Mike (who used to work at Fermi)
Received on Sat Feb 05 2005 - 15:56:24 GMT

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