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Chaos Incarnate
Faceless Logistics
Posted - 2010.02.18 06:17:00 - [31]
 

Edited by: Chaos Incarnate on 18/02/2010 06:42:43
Originally by: Magnus Nordir
If it weren't for the paranoid eco-hippies, we could easily have free energy with one of these in every basement and every car.


rofl, lmfao, roflol, lol Laughing

seriously, to quote Mr. Colbert, that's the craziest ****ing thing I've ever heard

RTGs are awesome for deep space missions or other long-term excursions where their lack of moving parts make them super reliable when you can't tune them up, but they're not very efficient. You don't need (or want) one in your car or house

You'd need something like 30-40kg of radioactive material (all told, probably 300kg with shielding and various other doodads) to power a single household using NASA's RTGs. They use plutonium-238; at current, they're having trouble getting funding to build a processing plant to produce 11 pounds/year at a cost of $30 million. There's also strontium 90, which is cheaper and used in old russian RTGs, but introduces the possibility of fun things like bone cancer and leukemia if you ingest it via contamination

as for a car, i've no idea how much wattage you're going to continuously need to power it; a rough guesstimate from wiki on electric cars suggests something like 10-20kW while operating, which even using battery storage still requires your average car to carry 20kg of material for an hour's worth of driving per day (don't EVER crash, either, they'll have to call in the hazmat teams...ahahaha)

Edited to add: Thanks OP for the response to my question

Chaos Incarnate
Faceless Logistics
Posted - 2010.02.18 06:41:00 - [32]
 

Originally by: Lance Fighter
yes, the seebeck effect. Why isnt that used more?

low efficiency in converting heat -> electricity. Good because there's no moving parts, which means the things last forever (which is why they're awesome for deep space exploration where you can't rely on solar panels)
Quote:

The wikipedia page claims its more of a battery than a real power source, so I assume its non-renewable


the material in the RTG is undergoing decay to produce the heat being used, so yes it's not rechargable without more material. Only specific materials with not-too-short (to prevent quick burnout) but not-too-long (to keep them generating enough power) halflives can be used
Quote:

Also, I assume it requires a source of cooling; In space, you can merely radiate excess heat... straight into space, but im guessing its not so on Earth

yeah, it requires cooling, as the thermocouple works across the temperature gradient. They'd probably work better on earth vs in space because of the ease of dissipating heat within the atmosphere

RedClaws
Amarr
Macabre Votum
Morsus Mihi
Posted - 2010.02.18 08:19:00 - [33]
 

Howmuch fuel for nuclear reaction is there left? (in years)

Howmuch waste would there be after nuclear power plants start reusing their spend uranium bars?

Why are we all so annoyed with the concept of storing nuclear waste for x thousands of year when we can just send it to the sun for cheap in a decade or 2?

Howmany years are we from an actual economicly viable and working fusion reactor?

Would recent or near future advanced reduce nuclear fallout enough to reconsider NASA's Project Orion?

Daphne Mezereum
Caldari
Posted - 2010.02.18 11:27:00 - [34]
 

Some of the last questions require quite detailed background informations, so here is what I'm going to do: I'll post the replies to the easy-to-answer question this afternoon/night, and then post a detailed "how does nuclear fuel work" post tomorrow or in the weekend, and then clear my backlog of questions.

You are of course free, and encouraged, to post questions in the meantime, I'm just telling you this so that you do not get confused/angry if one of your questions does not get answered quickly.

sneekyninja
Posted - 2010.02.20 09:29:00 - [35]
 


Zombika
Effective Deconstruction Initiative
Posted - 2010.02.20 10:50:00 - [36]
 

If i am exposed to radiation is it possible i could have stuff like my wounds or something healing faster or my muscles getting bigger due to some crazy advanced mutation?

Is any such things possible?

Wild Rho
Amarr
Silent Core
Posted - 2010.02.20 10:51:00 - [37]
 

What happens when you fire two laser beams directly at each other?

Zions Child
Caldari
The Resident Haunting
Posted - 2010.02.20 17:46:00 - [38]
 

Originally by: Wild Rho
What happens when you fire two laser beams directly at each other?



They pass through each other, and nothing happens. If they are both concentrated on the same point, however, and that point is a small object, you can increase it's thermodynamic energy fairly quickly. (They use a large quantity of lasers pointed at a BB sized group of hydrogen atoms to get them to undergo fusion at the National Ignition Facility)

Daphne Mezereum
Caldari
Posted - 2010.02.23 18:02:00 - [39]
 

Sorry guys, I have not been feeling well lately.

I'm going to reply to all questions, even the (semi)troll ones, but give me some time to regenerate.

Damn, I wish we had pod tech/cloning. Infection: just dl into your shiny new body, and recycle the old.

Vogue
Short Bus Pole Dancers
Posted - 2010.02.23 22:10:00 - [40]
 

I have read that Uranium prices have shot up due to the general global resurgance of nuclear power. So are their any educated guesses on when we will run out of Uranium.

Zions Child
Caldari
The Resident Haunting
Posted - 2010.02.24 00:09:00 - [41]
 

Originally by: Vogue
I have read that Uranium prices have shot up due to the general global resurgance of nuclear power. So are their any educated guesses on when we will run out of Uranium.


There's currently about 20 years of reserves in mines, 80 years of known economically feasible reserves, about 300 estimated years worth of Uranium (though this isn't known for sure) and somewhere in the realm of several millenia worth of Uranium in unconventional sources (i.e. the Ocean, though harvesting said minerals is currently completely unfeasible)
Mind you, this is without reusing spent fuel, and also this is only Uranium, there are other nuclear fuels out there.

GM Horse

Posted - 2010.02.24 05:02:00 - [42]
 

How dangerous is your average radioactive material, really? Let's say I've got a small brick of Uranium, say 100 grams of the stuff. Would I suffer any significant damage from, say, holding it for a few minutes, or would I need to put it into my pillow and sleep on it for a year to have any significant effects?

Zions Child
Caldari
The Resident Haunting
Posted - 2010.02.24 06:44:00 - [43]
 

Originally by: GM Horse
How dangerous is your average radioactive material, really? Let's say I've got a small brick of Uranium, say 100 grams of the stuff. Would I suffer any significant damage from, say, holding it for a few minutes, or would I need to put it into my pillow and sleep on it for a year to have any significant effects?


Horse, I think your face has answered that question quite well. But on topic, it would depend on said radioactive material. Uranium, for instance, is relatively safe. Its decay products, especially Radon-90, however, are extremely dangerous. Most radioactive materials are not that dangerous on their own. That being said, its still best to limit exposure to said materials, as their decay products tend to be quite nasty.

Also, sorry fer snipin' questions, I like answerin stuffs....

Daphne Mezereum
Caldari
Posted - 2010.02.24 20:53:00 - [44]
 

Edited by: Daphne Mezereum on 24/02/2010 20:56:07
Okay, backlog clearing.

Issue 1: Nuclear batteries and such

First off: yes, those things asked on by Lance Fighter and answered on by Magnus Nordir do exist. They are, however, extremely not viable for a couple of reasons.

The first and foremost being that they are batteries, not power plants.
A power plant is something that you can control and manoeuvre, meaning that it can give you 0-100% of its nominal output. A battery can only give you 100% of its output, meaning that when you don't use it, you have to do something with its power output.

A car needs a power plant, as you use it a lot when you drive, and nil when you do not.

The second issue is efficiency. This is twofold. First, you do not use the same level of energy as in a fission power plant. In a power plant, energy is released due to the fission of one big U atom into two (or more) smaller atoms. This creates a lot more energy than nuclear decay, where an atom emits a particle to become a slightly lighter atom. An alpha-decay (what Pu does) carries at best 24MeV of energy, a U fission carries 200MeV. So in the aforementioned batteries, you don't use all the energy you could get. (Yes, I ignored the spontaneous fission part of Pu, in this case, its negligible. Can explain if asked to.)

The second part of that is the conversion efficiency of thermal to electrical energy. Piroelectirc materials are awesome stuff, but their efficiency rarely goes above 20%. In comparison, a power plant has an efficiency of about 30-40%.

Issues like accident hazards don't really matter much, as creating a container for a couple of kg of Pu that wont come apart as you slam it in a 2 ton vehicle into another 2 ton vehicle is relatively easy.

The last issue is price. Pu isn't cheap.

Why and where are they still used, then? Primarily in space exploration, where costs are not an issue, and you need a stable, reliable, and completely independent power source. These things are great for powering satellites, they are horrible for powering cars.


Chaos incarnate: thanks you your input, good to see another nukehead here.

All: If my explanations are a bit too wordy, feel free to say so.

Daphne Mezereum
Caldari
Posted - 2010.02.24 21:27:00 - [45]
 

Edited by: Daphne Mezereum on 24/02/2010 21:33:12
Backlog clearing Issue 2

Gen 4 reactors, the Ignition Facility, and supermutants

Odium Devotus (devoted to hate/disgust, or hate/disgust of deovtion?) asked if LFTR is as ass-kicking as it sounds. For those of you (and those are a lot, methinks) who don't know what this is, its the acronym of Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor. This is a type of the Gen4 molten salt reactors, that uses thorium as its energy source, and fluorides as the coolant, and this alone makes its awesome. The physics behind the stuff is almost completely well known, not the "only" thing remaining is ironing out the mechanics of that thing. As we are talking about a pipe complex that needs to withstand 600C hot molten halogens flowing inside it at very high pressure and speed, this is no small task. But once we iron these out, we can use Thorium as a fuel, and even without all the knicknacks and awesomeness of all G4 reactors (explained in later, separate post), we can stretch out the availability of nuclear fuel by hundreds of years.

His next question was "whats the deal with U-233?". U-233 is a potential nuclear fuel breedable from Th-232, and is the cornerstone of several long-term nuclear designs, notable the self-sufficiency programme of India. If necessary, specifics will be explained in the long post(s) about G4 reactors.

(His question about nuclear waste will be answered in a later "fuel cycle and waste cycle" megapost).

Finally, he asked if all problems can be solved by throwing money at it. Sadly the answer is no, there are several limitations that come from unbendable laws of physics, not the lack of money.

Bellum Eternus asked if the current level of technology was sufficient to develop single stage fusion weapons using the method of Inertial Containment Fusion. Short answer: no. Long answer: not from what I know about it. And even if if were possible, the ICF requires such a high level of precision and timing that you are better of with a good old Teller-Ulam bomb. Then again, there are no physical laws to prevent the ICF becoming a good source of energy, or a good weapon.

Zombika asked is the curative and improvative powers of radiation are true. Short answer: no. Long answer: on high levels, its still a very big no, however, there is a theory of radiation hormesis, of which I am a proponent of. It states that a very low level of radiation (5-20 mSv) stimulates the cell repair mechanism, and is thus benefitial to the organism. There is no (not enough) experimental data to completely support or falsify this theory. So I must say: if you are not qualified to deal with it, stay the **** away from excess radiation.

Edit: OMG, A GM post:)

Zombika
Effective Deconstruction Initiative
Posted - 2010.02.25 22:13:00 - [46]
 

"experimental data to completely support or falsify this theory. So I must say: if you are not qualified to deal with it, stay the **** away from excess radiation."

Thank you sir!

Now i will get as much radioactive stuff i can and cure all my wounds!

Odium Devotus
Posted - 2010.02.26 10:40:00 - [47]
 

Edited by: Odium Devotus on 26/02/2010 10:43:17
Edited by: Odium Devotus on 26/02/2010 10:41:50
I look forward to the future posts Very Happy

Perhaps i should have been more specific in regards to u-233,
Ive heard a few things about 'save the u-233', whats the deal with that? From what i understand, for all intents and purposes it is a catalyst of sorts, is also perpetual in the reaction cycle. Regardless of how much thorium you have, you can only make x power if you only have x u-233 to seed with?

Cant we make more?

any implications regarding nuclear medicine?

Also, i dont live far fromhumboldt bay. Whats the chances and who would i contact to possibly get an on site tour of the facility?

Khors
El Barco Pirata
Posted - 2010.02.26 12:22:00 - [48]
 

Originally by: RedClaws

Why are we all so annoyed with the concept of storing nuclear waste for x thousands of year when we can just send it to the sun for cheap in a decade or 2?


It would use up more energy to send it away with a rocket into the sun than it would have created in the powerplant, or at least enough enery to not be worth it anymore. At least that's how my highschool teacher told me :P

Quote:
There's currently about 20 years of reserves in mines, 80 years of known economically feasible reserves, about 300 estimated years worth of Uranium (though this isn't known for sure) and somewhere in the realm of several millenia worth of Uranium in unconventional sources (i.e. the Ocean, though harvesting said minerals is currently completely unfeasible) Mind you, this is without reusing spent fuel, and also this is only Uranium, there are other nuclear fuels out there.


What about other fuels? Like thorium? Care to give me a little explanation about alternatives to uranium and what their downsides are, rarity?

Athalwolf
Evolution
IT Alliance
Posted - 2010.02.26 15:59:00 - [49]
 

WIN thread, bookmarked!

Taedrin
Gallente
Kushan Industrial
Posted - 2010.02.26 16:46:00 - [50]
 

Originally by: Bellum Eternus
Question:

Is it possible/realistic to design a single stage to ignition fusion weapon with an optical laser for an ignition source using current levels of technology?


I am in no way a scientist, but from my understanding, fusion requires immense pressure to be "sustainable". A laser could be used to "ignite" a fusion reaction, but lacks any method to keep the fuel under pressure for the fusion reaction to consume significant quantities of fuel. IE, the laser would start a fusion reaction, but the reaction would come to a screeching halt as soon as the fuel expands due to the heat released from the reaction. This is why you have gas giants like Jupiter which are "failed stars". They have tons of fuel, but don't have enough pressure to sustain a reaction.

Also consider the difficulty we are having with fusion reactors - tokamaks can get a fusion reaction going, but the amount of energy we expend to keep the fuel from cooling down when it comes into contact with the reactor walls is enormous and is actually greater than the energy produced by the fusion reaction itself.

Odium Devotus
Posted - 2010.03.20 01:35:00 - [51]
 

bumped, i'd like to know more

Daphne Mezereum
Caldari
Posted - 2010.03.20 09:13:00 - [52]
 

Holy Hannah!

I forgot about this thread. Thanks for the bump, though your video does not work:)

Daphne Mezereum
Caldari
Posted - 2010.03.22 22:20:00 - [53]
 

Edited by: Daphne Mezereum on 22/03/2010 22:20:52
Megapost:

Nuclear Fuel Cycle

I hope this will answer a lot of the question currently in the thread.

A, Single run fuel cycle:

Every method starts with the extraction of uranium ore, and its reprocession into nuclear fuel. This is done by first oxidizing the ore into the so-called yellow cake, which is a powder made up by various Uranium oxides. Uranium and Thorium, Plutonium, and almost all other actinides have more than one oxidation state, for example Pu has five or six.

This yellow cake is then turned into some form of separable material, usually UF6 (uranium-hexafluoride). This is a gaseous material, meaning that with a centrifuge, you can separate the heavier U-238(F6) and the lighter U-235(F6).

Natural uranium deposits are ~0,7% U-235 and the rest is U-238 (the other isotopes really don't count that much). Problem is, only a specific type of reactor can operate with this type of enrichment (aka no enrichment at all), and these reactors (called CANDU: Canadian Deuterium Uranium) need lots and lots of heavy water (D2O, DHO) to operate, and producing heavy water is not easy. Its frigging difficult to be honest.

To make nuclear reactors, the partial content of U-235 has to be enriched, typically into the 3-5% range, and this is what the aforementioned centrifuges are for. Since the weight difference between the two types of UF6 is less than two grams compared to a weight of almost 300g, this is no easy task (see the whole Iranian enrichment facility fiasco. May comment on that if needed).

So, we have on one hand a gas enriched in U-235(F6), and one that has a lot less U-235(F6). The former (the enriched part) is then converted into UO2 (alloys), pressed, formed, and is then more or less ready to go into a reactor (of course, the fuel is assembled into rods, and all that, but that mechanics). The latter is also converted into something else (as U6, being a fluoride, is quite reactive), and is then called depleted uranium. So if you hear anyone saying that depleted uranium comes from a reactor, punch them in the face until they learn.

Anyway, we now have fuel. We put this into the reactor, use the reactor for some time, and then take the fuel out. This is the so called spent fuel rod, and its one of the most radioactive things on the planet. Not surprisingly, these rods are kept for at least five years in a cooling waterbed, until some of the more active radionuclides decay out of existence. Then, this spent fuel is kept under heavy surveillance, in protective casings, cooled, usually in situ.

I think you can see why it is called single run cycle, fuel goes in, spent fuel comes out, period.

With this method, and with the U deposits we are currently actively exploiting, there is about 20-40 years of fuel left (with the current trends in NPP buliding, etc,etc)

B, Reprocession included:

Now, all is not that grim, though. Reactors have a very neat feature, called conversion. You see, while U-238 in itself is not fissile, if it captures a neutron (and there are lots of neutrons in a reactor, that's why its a reactor), it can become Pu-239 through decay. Pu-239, on the other hand, is fissile. This happens so much that at the end of a good four-year cycle of a modern NPP, up to 5% of all fissions comes from Pu-239. Every rose has its thorns though, as Pu-239 can in term capture another neutron and become Pu-240, which is not fissile.

Reprocession is the process of chemically removing fissile nuclei from spent fuel rods, meaning that you take the useful stuff out of it, and then process that into new fuel. This is called MOX fuel, or mixed oxide fuel (as it contains both Pu and U oxides).

The conversion factor is a measure of how many new, fissile nuclei are produced for each fission in the reactor. In current, 2nd gen reactors, this is well below 1, usually around 0,5-0,1. Meaning you still lose net fuel.

Runnig uot of time and characters, continuing tomorrow.

Edit: fyou, outlogger

Bellum Eternus
Gallente
The Scope
Posted - 2010.03.23 04:25:00 - [54]
 

Originally by: Taedrin
Originally by: Bellum Eternus
Question:

Is it possible/realistic to design a single stage to ignition fusion weapon with an optical laser for an ignition source using current levels of technology?


I am in no way a scientist, but from my understanding, fusion requires immense pressure to be "sustainable". A laser could be used to "ignite" a fusion reaction, but lacks any method to keep the fuel under pressure for the fusion reaction to consume significant quantities of fuel. IE, the laser would start a fusion reaction, but the reaction would come to a screeching halt as soon as the fuel expands due to the heat released from the reaction. This is why you have gas giants like Jupiter which are "failed stars". They have tons of fuel, but don't have enough pressure to sustain a reaction.

Also consider the difficulty we are having with fusion reactors - tokamaks can get a fusion reaction going, but the amount of energy we expend to keep the fuel from cooling down when it comes into contact with the reactor walls is enormous and is actually greater than the energy produced by the fusion reaction itself.


Well, that's the basic issue with efficiency ratios with most nuclear weapons- how much fuel can it burn before it blows itself apart.

The point of my question was do people think it's viable for a laser driven single-stage-to-fusion warhead to be engineered? I think that inertial confinement should be workable with a laser as the energy source.

The net result: a fusion warhead without the fission component yields a much cleaner and more 'usable' device.

Lance Fighter
Amarr
Posted - 2010.03.23 04:31:00 - [55]
 

Since im interested, what the hell is heavy water?

Ive heard it used, and know the chemical makeup and such, but wtf does it mean? Why is it important?

Bellum Eternus
Gallente
The Scope
Posted - 2010.03.23 04:37:00 - [56]
 

Originally by: GM Horse
How dangerous is your average radioactive material, really? Let's say I've got a small brick of Uranium, say 100 grams of the stuff. Would I suffer any significant damage from, say, holding it for a few minutes, or would I need to put it into my pillow and sleep on it for a year to have any significant effects?


Horse-

#2, If it's natural uranium (not enriched) and only 100g of the stuff. Although, the radon gas it emits might be an issue.

Now, if it was say, cesium 137, that's a completely different animal. If you're really interested in the stuff, there is all sorts of info on the net with respect to decay modes of the various isotopes of nuclides, the types of radiation they emit (aplha, beta, neutrons, gamma etc.) and what the shielding requirements are. Indeed, putting something under your pillow will make a difference as a pillow would be able to stop alpha radiation.

Kijo Rikki
Caldari
Point of No Return
Waterboard
Posted - 2010.03.23 06:27:00 - [57]
 

although it tears me to spam in this very substantial thread, I feel I must go offtopic momentarily to point out that this:

Quote:
So if you hear anyone saying that depleted uranium comes from a reactor, punch them in the face until they learn.


is excellent sig material. Cool

Victor Valka
Caldari
The Kairos Syndicate
Transmission Lost
Posted - 2010.03.23 15:03:00 - [58]
 

Interesting stuff. Science is fun! Thanks, Daphne!

(I should get a PhD someday, have a real conversation.)

Daphne Mezereum
Caldari
Posted - 2010.03.23 22:02:00 - [59]
 

Edited by: Daphne Mezereum on 23/03/2010 23:01:21
Megapost II

Advanced Nuclear Fuel Cycle:

C, Breeding:

As some of you may have guessed it, if there is such a thing as conversion, then this effect should be exploited and used. This is exactly what happens in fast breeder reactors (FBRs), which we currently have. Lets denote the conversion factor (again, the measure of how many new fissile atoms are produced for every fission) with Q. In FBRs, this number is at least 2, and sometimes higher, meaning that you get twice as much fissile material back as you injected before. Pretty neat, huh?

D, Transmutation:

During a fission, all sorts of highly radioactive and quite unpleasant nuclei are produced. These pose both a serious health hazard, a constant source of problems, and, as they have to be treated, cost a lot of money. So, something has to be done with them. Luckily, there is a solution. Most fission products are able to capture neutrons, if irradiated with them, and, if you get lucky, will become something that has a shorter half-life. Meaning you originally had something that needed monitoring and care for 200 thousand years, now you have something that needs monitoring and care for 200. I vast improvement.

Now, where do you get a high neutron flux? In a reactor, of course.

E, Generation IV reactors:

Now, these are still only in development, but we already know some core parameters they are going to have. Namely, their best parameter is: Q~1. I'll translate this: they can basically supply themselves with fissionable material.

F, Thorium reactors:

Thorium, in itself, does not contain enough fissile material to be sufficient as a sole source of nuclear fission. However, its most abundant isotope, Th-232, become U-233 after capturing a neutron, and U-233 is fissile. So, we need to take lots of Th-232, put it into some place where there are lots of neutrons running around (a reactor), and voila, we got ourselves fuel, that in therm, can and will provide the neutrons for the rest of the Th package to be transmuted. To answer the Th-232-->U-233 questions: this is not a catalysable reaction, therefore U-233 is not a catalyst, at least not in any scientific sense. It is a way to make "useless" thorium into sweet, sweet nuclear fuel.

F, Putting it all together:

Currently, NPPs operate either in the open cycle single-run state, or use some form of reprocession of Pu.

But, with all the things I have written, we can expand this cycle.

If we include breeder reactors into the cycle, we can use these to both enrich the reprocessed spent fuel, and we can also transmute the depleted part of the processed ore into Pu-239. This way, we get an increase in fissile material on both ends of the line.

But, lets include generation 4 reactors, transmutation of fission products, reprocession, breeder reactors, and everything we can get. This way, it is possible to construct a fuel cycle in which you basically mine ore once, and use this ore in many, many cycles to get the maximum amount of energy out of it. You reprocess spent fuel to get Pu out of it. You breed Pu from spent fuel and depleted ore products, you transmute highly hazardous waste into less hazardous waste, and best of all, you produce fissile materail where there was none.

Now, the above cycle is only a concept as of now, as we lack G4 reactors, and there is a lot of red tape and lack of cooperation.

Translating this into numbers we get that from the 20-40 years of fissile material currently exploitable we can move to an international system in which we can make more than enough nuclear fuel to sustain development well beyond the next millenia. Using the above, so called symbiotic cycle, the sources of nuclear fuel are almost limitless.

This also means that while we currently use less than 0,1% of the energetic potential of uranium ore (and 0 of thorium), we could use up to 60-70% of it. Neat, isn't it?

Daphne Mezereum
Caldari
Posted - 2010.03.23 22:31:00 - [60]
 

Originally by: GM Horse
How dangerous is your average radioactive material, really? Let's say I've got a small brick of Uranium, say 100 grams of the stuff. Would I suffer any significant damage from, say, holding it for a few minutes, or would I need to put it into my pillow and sleep on it for a year to have any significant effects?


Dpends. Do you have uranium ore, or pure, refined uranium metal?

If you have ore, then it will be much, much more active. This is because uranium decays, then its decay product (daughter element) decays, and so on and so on, until the chain reaches a stable point. This is a so called decay chain.

If you wait long enough (since U-238 and U-235 are here since the formation of the earth, you have), each intermediate member of the chain will be produced and eliminated via decay with the same speed. Meaning that for every decay that produces X, there will be one X decay. This means that every intermediate member of the chain will have the same activity, that is, of decays per second.

So, if you have uranium ore, you will not only get radiation from U-238/235, but from all their daughter products, and the radiation you get from their daughter products will be much higher than the one you get from U alone.

As it stands, most of these products, and U itself, can emit high-energy gamma radiation. Alpha and beta radiation are not really dangerous, as they are stopped quickly in air, and usually, the ore itself absorbs a good portion of said alphas and betas. Gammas, however, will get out of the ore, and into you. Thats not particulary healthy. Alos, there is radon, a gaseous decay product. Problem is, as it is a gas, it can be inhaled. Radon is an alpha decayer, but, if you inhale it, these alpha particles will be absorbed in your lungs, as there is nothing to stop them.

Good news is: even uranium ore is rather sparse in U and its daughter products. IIRC, everything above 10-20ppm (parts per million) is valuable to be mined. Still, while it may glow nicely in the dark if in a proper mineral complex, uranium ore is no plaything.


Now, refined uranium, aka the metal itself, is not that dangerous, as it has a much lower activity concentration (decay per second per volume). Its gamma radiation is still nasty, though. You should not hold it under any circumstances, as you are, I assume, not a qualified person f
for such work.

Problem with both forms is that uranium, as a metal, is highly chemotoxic, meaning your if you ingest U, your liver will crap out on you waay before you get sick from radiation poisoning.

Fun fact: there is an american radiobiologist, I think Luckey, who sleeps above slab of uranium ore, and he 90+ and counting.


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