Fixin’ to fix with fixatives.

Knew this was going to be part of the response.

My brother is also a rad tech. Actually, both brothers are, even the former Greenpeacer. Plus Mom and Dad. But I was the first!

Yes, we are the Nuclear Family.

Anyway, Lil’ Brother got sent to an airport, I think in St. Louis.  They’d had a “mishap” with a shipment of medical radioiodine.  They tried to clean it up themselves, ended up just spreading all over the place.   Millions of dpm or, if you prefer, hundreds of thousands of Bequerels. 

Since it was fairly short-lived, they ended up using fixatives rather than “deconning” (decontaminating) it.  Had they done that in the first place it would have been much less of a mess.

At a Brookhaven medical research lab I once had to decon Carbon-11 off a floor.  Twenty-minute half-life!  That was annoying.  They wouldn’t let me just seal it off for a few hours even though no one needed to be in the room.

About wormme

I've accepted that all of you are socially superior to me. But no pretending that any of you are rational.
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11 Responses to Fixin’ to fix with fixatives.

  1. Rana says:

    I have a kind of off-topic (but not really) question…so if Cesium 137 has a half-life of 30 years and Chernobyl blew a BUNCH of Cesium 137 all over the Northern Hemisphere enough to show up in our milk back then, then why wasn’t Cesium showing up in milk all along? If it is on the ground wouldn’t it be on the grass too? Or even in the grass that the cows eat? I ask this because it’s showing up in milk now but won’t in the near future or will continue for 30+ years?

    Just curious.

    • wormme says:

      With sufficiently sensitive instruments and long enough count times, you probably could find cesium-137 in about any beef and milk.

      Hunters around some of the nationals labs are encouraged to bring deer meat in to be tested, because there were a lot more releases and accidents during the development days. But even a few miles away the amount of Cs-137 is either non-detectable or at levels far below any calculable risk.

      One problem of Chernobyl was that downwind of it, Communist people were so poor they couldn’t afford to throw all the contaminated food away. But the richer societies threw away a lot of stuff.

    • crosspatch says:

      Another thing is that many cesium compounds are readily soluble in water. This means that it washes off of the plants and such and into the ground and works its way deeper every year as it is transported by water. It eventually gets washed out of the local environment and into the ocean.

      While it has a 30 year half-life, it has a much shorter biological half life. The average human will eliminate half the cesium in their body every 70 days because again, it is readily soluble in water and acts like potassium chemically and is eliminated like potassium is in sweat and urine.

      So, as time goes by the cesium in that pasture is being washed away so the cow is eating less of it with each passing rainstorm. At the same time, the cow is also eliminating any cesium that it did ingest so with each passing day, the cesium content of the cow’s body declines.

      • DefendUSA says:

        Nice. The human body is amazing. I just wish the other part of our population were learning what I am! Again, awesome.

      • wormme says:

        Oh yeah, early on we head about that cesium contamination found a long was from Fukushima, and five inches deep. Either that was from something else, or it got underground in a big hurry.

  2. MAW says:

    Question. After the gulf oil spill it has become apparent,but not admitted due to spillonaires,that the oil eating bacteria did the job that man in his god wanna be arrogance couldnt. I did some searching, with few results, and found that there are bacteria that eat uranium and turn it into uranite.Would the introduction of these bacteria help or hinder a situation like Chernobyl?

    • DefendUSA says:

      Good question!

      • DefendUSA says:

        Here is an answer…just wanted to find a good source…
        Yes, bacteria for radiation is a big deal at Hanford Washington. Pacific Northwest National Laboratories (PNNL) operated under the DOE by Battelle Corporation-they had a large project to develop organisms to do that specifically. A friend of mine was involved with them and they were putting together a DHS funded project to do proteomics on infected animals using a high throughput Mass Spec. It was promising but fell apart during the funding stages as DHS is woefully inept. (No surprise there, at least for me) But he says the guys at PNNL are excellent.

        Here is a link:

        • wormme says:

          Nice! Didn’t know that. Still don’t see how practical they could be for something like Chernobyl. Maybe deconning hot cells or something.

        • MAW says:

          Good read. Thank You. Funding is a major problem I liken it to the Tesla Syndrome. Tesla was a walking computer of ideas,but his biggest hurdle was funding.In Teslas day it was finding a sugar daddy with money. Today the sugar daddy is for the most part the govt who controls who gets what. Play the game and money is no obstacle. Question the game and your out the door.Even if a person can find funds the obstacles and hurdles one is put through due to regulations can be insurmountable.

    • wormme says:

      Those bacteria are sufficiently exotic, and the problem so widespread, I don’t know if they could ever be practical. It is fun to speculate about the possibility, though.

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