Australia is searching the desert for a dangerous radioactive capsule smaller than a penny

I’m guessing the radioactive pellet was used in a nuclear densitometry tool.


Jacques Cousteau’s (yes, that one) posthumously published book The Human, the Orchid, and the Octopus has a story in it about organizing people to sit on railroad tracks to stop a train from taking radioactive waste to be dumped in the Mediterranean in 1973. As for Iowa, there was dumping in the Gulf of Mexico at some point prior to 1982, but I don’t know if it was transported down the Mississippi River or from other ports by ships like the Calhoun County.


No strawman involved, because I never once mentioned LAX regulation. It ultimately doesn’t matter how much regulation you have, how much care you take, accidents can and will happen because human beings screw things up. All. The. Time.

Screw up a solar plant, what happens? No electricity for a while. Screw up nuclear? Mass evacuations, potential contamination, and massive cleanup costs.

But, since you brought it up, yes, no corporation has an interest in building new nuclear power plants at this time because they cannot be cost effective. Only when regulations are relaxed would they consider it, because they can then take all the short cuts they like to make it as profitable as possibly.

Can it be done safely? Absolutely!

WILL it be done safely? Fuck no. Never. Guarantee it.


Or well logging - though I think that’s more of a Cf-source neutron thing.

Hundreds of them are bouncing around on the west TX highways, securely stored in “pigs” that have registered homes in a hole at some garage somewhere. “Securely stored” is the key there. I have no idea how something like that got loose. It boggles my little safety-minded mind.

Given the non-population density and the alleged 30y half-life (but again, what of the daughter products?), it’s an attention and link-grabbing non-thing. It could be a fun exercise for “people” that go out and look for that stuff, but unlike this headline - you won’t hear about it…

Lost nukes are meaningless - seriously, we haven’t found the B-whatever lost off of Tybee island yet?

We had a bit of fun at work when someone found “something” in the delta sediment there near Savannah GA. Had to run lots of calcs to see what was left and/or what it could do — turns out that the “artifact/signature” was an iron bathtub dropped or tossed off some boat.

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Dangerous stuff goes missing all the time.




When it comes to fucked up things the mining industry has done in this country, this doesn’t even crack the top 100.
Not to mention the nuclear testing at Maralinga…


here is a safety manual for a nuclear densitometer

an excerpt

Step Seven - Security while in Transport

Security concerns regarding gauges are at an all time high and therefore awareness of security risks are a training priority. Because gauges are portable they are more vulnerable to theft and damage. RSO’s must teach their employees to recognize and respond to security threats.

It is very rare that a thief is targeting the gauge itself. More often the vehicle is the target. That is why regulatory agencies frown on the idea of using the vehicle as a temporary storage area. However, if you must leave the gauge in the vehicle you need to take extra measures in securing your vehicle.

Always park the vehicle in well lit areas and, if possible, behind gated access. If you stop at rest areas and have other workers with you, take turns using the facility. If you stop at a restaurant always keep the vehicle in sight (sit at a window).

Thieves target anything they believe has value. To a thief a gauge case looks like any other tool chest or power-tool box. They’re usually in a hurry and they don’t stop to read the labels and stickers on the case. It is only later that the thief discovers he or she has a device with radioactive materials. At that point they are only interested in getting rid of the gauge as fast as they can. That’s why they’re often recovered in ditches, fields and rivers.


This is NOT how you get Spider-Man!


It’s how you get Deadly Venomous Spider-Man. With great power comes a lot of biting.


Yes its harder than that.

While geiger technology is pretty cheap and widespread a geiger counter has a very limited range. There’s a decent chance this capsule has bounced off the road into the surrounding area so driving along with a geiger counter is unlikely to register a blip. This operation would require something more sensitive, such as a sodium iodide scintillation detector, and the larger the better. There are survey vehicles made for the task.

The road survey would have to be done slowly. Aerial surveys are also possible but they’re better suited for large area surveys. Any hot spots found during the road survey would then have to be checked using handheld dosimeters. There are a lot of natural sources of radiation that would need to be ruled out. This is an example of a detector configured in a backpack. National Guard civil support teams (CST) use these during large public gatherings to find radiation sources, which usually turn out to be folk being treated with nuclear medicine


In Western Australia, this is very true indeed. This map shows the larger and publicly disclosed uranium reserves. But kick over any rock in WA, and you’ll find all sorts of minerals.


We might get Australian Hulk though.


Bruce Banner.

I’ll see myself out.


Guess it’s convenient I don’t support privatization of energy infrastructure.

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While public money might help, I’ve seen too many run-down public bridges, schools, and - yes - power stations to believe a publicly-funded nuclear power station would get a big enough budget. Sooner or later, the money is needed for something more popular.


That’s great, and I agree with you there. But I also live in the United States of Profit Uber Alles and there’s no fucking way we’ll shift to a public power generation infrastruture. This here is a death cult run by corporate grifters, not a government organized to maintain and promote the general welfare of its people.

As long as corporations are the ones who will run nuclear power in this country, I will oppose it with every last fucking breath I have. We tried it. We already proved we SUCK at it. Humanity cannot be trusted to get things right 100% of the time.

And as I pointed out in the original thesis you’ve been responding to: even when we try to follow all the safety protocols and requirements necessary to ensure safety, shit happens, mistakes get made, accidents occur. Accidents with nuclear power are multiple orders of magnitude worse than any other power plant.

And that’s not even getting into the cost to build new plants, the permitting and site decisions which will take decades, and the public outcry which - regardless of what you believe - will be what ultimately scuttles these things.

Focus on what we can do. If you want all the power of nuclear - on 24/7 - with none of the problems, shovel all that money into geothermal. There’s endless supplies of it in the United States alone and we’re not even tapping a fraction of it.


walks closer while putting reading glasses on

Oh fuck.


“I think I found it, but it’s difficult to see through all these flashes in my eyes.”