Source for Uranium Metal?

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Brian McDermott
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Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by Brian McDermott » Mon Jan 30, 2006 12:16 am

In light of Carl's recent post regarding the measurement of SF and neutron multplication in Uranium, I was wondering where one would actually go about getting a reasonably pure and concentrated sample of Uranium in more than single-gram quantities.

The NRC allows one to hold up to 15 lbs of natural or depleted Uranium Metal or salts "for scientific or educational purposes" without specific licensing requirements. My question is, where does one go about getting Uranium metal or salts? I know it exists in gamma ray collimators and aircraft counterweights, but there aren't any obvious sources for those either. United Nuclear has the tiny sample chunks, but those are geared more towards element collectors and less towards people doing experiments.

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Carl Willis
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Re: Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by Carl Willis » Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:04 am

Hi Brian,

You're looking at an uphill battle. There just aren't that many popular uses for uranium or its compounds that make it available routinely.

I have purchased some pieces from United Nuclear, when they had the big 13 g chunks available. This is depleted uranium.

The Victoreen 470 ion chambers (noted for their 'dagged styrofoam coffee cup air-equivalent chamber) have a test source on the front of the protective cover that has about half a gram of natural uranium metal foil. It's a reason I go after broken 470s.

MV Laboratories, Inc. sold me and a friend some (depleted) U308 last year of 99.99% chemical purity for about $5 a gram, a pretty good price. I don't know of any other suppliers right now who are doing that as far as any old member of the public is concerned. (Interesting aside: this compound when pure is nearly black, but a little water of hydration and you get the familiar yellow-orange "yellow cake.")

In those wonderful times before the whole debacle following 9/11, I remember having a friendly conversation on the phone with someone at Manufacturing Sciences Corp. in Oak Ridge about buying a DU plate. My problem back then was that I was too poor to afford it and my parents were likely to be skeptical about its safety and value in the home. I even balked at the FedEx hazmat airbill quote, which was like $50. So I forgot about it and so did they. Of course, 9/11 came.... Practically every day I kick myself for this lapse of sound judgment and foresight.

I've personally seen a large DU cylinder (apparently used in an inertial guidance device), recovered from surplus by a good acquaintance out in New Mexico. A find like that is a real blessing.

Certainly you've got Bill Kolb's book. It has a pretty exhaustive review of other uranium resources.

Best regards,
Carl
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Roberto Ferrari
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Re: Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by Roberto Ferrari » Mon Jan 30, 2006 12:14 pm

Brian,

I used to buy in antiquarians shops, from old pharmacies or chemical labs, natural Uranium salts, as Uranium nitrate, acetate, uranyl-acetate, etc.
Roberto

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Richard Hull
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Re: Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by Richard Hull » Mon Jan 30, 2006 3:07 pm

Carl is correct.

All of the old chemical firms used to offer crude U turnings as late as 2001 for ~$40.00 per gram. U as the oxide is currently on the market for 38.00/lb but you can't get any of it...PERIOD.

Surplus stuff with U in it is just not out there anymore.

Knee jerk regulations and paranoia coupled with public perception has pretty much killed the experimenter's hands on imperative and the open policy to amateur experimentation so brilliantly fostered under "Atoms For Peace" in my youth.

Good luck in your quest. If you should find a source, and they know exactly what they have, they will squeeze your private parts of every dollar for just a few grams. To do spontaneous fission replication work with ease, you would need a kg or more of DU.

U's big value is in a stable check source for most of us. A nice U ore rock sample is often enough.

The metal is a whole new ball game.

Richard Hull
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Re: Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by 3l » Mon Jan 30, 2006 4:41 pm

Hi Folks:

Under Homeboy security ,I doubt any u metal could be bought
over a 10 gram sample any more. Thorium metal is deamed harmless it could be purchased with out too much fuss.

Processing u salts into metal is flat against the law,but thorium is in a grey area so far. Thorium metal would work with adjustments in multiplication experiments. Fast neutrons only.

Happy Fusoring!
Larry Leins
Fusor Tech

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Richard Hull
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Re: Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by Richard Hull » Mon Jan 30, 2006 5:00 pm

Thorium metal is the ultimate no-no! Thorium metal sales ended with all chem companies 10 years before they stopped U metal sales! You are not allowed to hold ANY Thorium metal under any regs. That is ZERO!

Thorium oxide mantles , while no longer made, can be found NOS on e-bay..... But that ain't th' metal. I never understood the government's reaction to Th metal being an ultimate no-no.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

Wilfried Heil
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Re: Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by Wilfried Heil » Mon Jan 30, 2006 10:44 pm

What about thoriated Tungsten rods for welding (with a few percent of Thorium)? Are these available in the US? In Europe we have the choice of thoriated or Tungsten/Lanthanum welding sticks, both of which are radioactive, incidentally.

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Brian McDermott
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Re: Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by Brian McDermott » Tue Jan 31, 2006 12:08 am

Are the check sources on the sides of the CDV-700 made of the same uranium foil as well?

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Re: Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by Q » Tue Jan 31, 2006 1:36 am

as i understand it, it is very illegal to do anything with your ore samples other than look at them and listen to the hum of a counter.
this is to bad; i've recently aquired an excellent book regarding radiochemestry and half the book deals with ways to extract specific isotopes.
...not that i really want to try doing this, but the information is an excellent resource.

Q

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Re: Source for Uranium Metal?

Post by Roberto Ferrari » Tue Jan 31, 2006 1:41 am

Hi Q,
I was just reading a paper about a radiochemical procedure to determine U-235 content, based in both U235/U238 daughters.
As far as I know in my country is still legal to do these experiments.
Roberto

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