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Author: Subject: Radio active stuff in fuel oil
jock88
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[*] posted on 16-12-2014 at 18:25
Radio active stuff in fuel oil



Customs and excise have started to add radio active stuff to untaxed fuel oil for id purposes. What is this stuff does anyone know. It is used in south America for years according to link.

http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/ira-diesel-smugglers-fa...

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neptunium
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[*] posted on 17-12-2014 at 08:45


what ever it is i doubt its a radio isotope. and if it is its probably a short lived beta decaying one in minute quantity.
It could also be a non radio active isotope. if they changed the ratio of carbon 12/13 then how will the counterfiter could figure it out without a mass spectrometer?
On the other hand how much would that cost ?




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jock88
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[*] posted on 17-12-2014 at 15:50



It would not be a 'short life' anything as that would be no good. The oil would not be 'marked' if you kept it until the stuff decayed away.


"How much would that cost?"

Do you mean the price of the mass spectrometer or the price of the separated (stuff added to fuel) carbon isotope?
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[*] posted on 17-12-2014 at 16:26


If you added a tritium labelled version of the most common hydrocarbon in the fuel, that might do the trick.

To remove it they would have to strip out that hydrocarbon.
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neptunium
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[*] posted on 17-12-2014 at 18:15


Quote: Originally posted by jock88  

It would not be a 'short life' anything as that would be no good. The oil would not be 'marked' if you kept it until the stuff decayed away.


"How much would that cost?"

Do you mean the price of the mass spectrometer or the price of the separated (stuff added to fuel) carbon isotope?


by short life i mean a few years not minutes....






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jock88
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[*] posted on 18-12-2014 at 06:33


Quote: Originally posted by careysub  
If you added a tritium labelled version of the most common hydrocarbon in the fuel, that might do the trick.

To remove it they would have to strip out that hydrocarbon.


Which I would presume is practically impossible to do.

3000 centrifuges maybe
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[*] posted on 18-12-2014 at 06:51


Quote: Originally posted by jock88  
Quote: Originally posted by careysub  
If you added a tritium labelled version of the most common hydrocarbon in the fuel, that might do the trick.

To remove it they would have to strip out that hydrocarbon.


Which I would presume is practically impossible to do.

3000 centrifuges maybe


No centrifuges needed. Just distillation of the fuel to remove all of the labelled hydrocarbon(s), which might require temperatures of 350 C.

At some point the effort to 'sanitize' the fuel, including discarding part of it, becomes so expensive that the bootlegging operation becomes unprofitable. That should probably the actual taggant design objective - not impossibility, but unprofitability.

Wait - I just had a thought while typing this. Instead of adding a few labelled hydrocarbons, they could label them all with the following procedure:
1. Make a tritiated form of a low BP hydrocarbon (toluene, say).
2. Label a small batch of diesel fuel by a zeolite mediated exchange reaction with the toluene. Zeolites are common catalysts used in petroleum refining, so this is a standard reaction type for them.
3. Strip out the toluene from the batch.
4. Add batch to the full fuel stream.

This would label all the hydrocarbons in the fuel, making removal genuinely impossible, not just unprofitable.
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neptunium
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[*] posted on 18-12-2014 at 07:02


sounds plausible and reasonable Careysub.... but what about all that Tritium release in the environment?
does anybody seriously beleive the EPA (wich is already out of control) would let that happen?




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careysub
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[*] posted on 18-12-2014 at 07:18


Quote: Originally posted by neptunium  
sounds plausible and reasonable Careysub.... but what about all that Tritium release in the environment?
does anybody seriously beleive the EPA (wich is already out of control) would let that happen?


First, Ireland - EPA does not operate there.

Second, the point of labelling is to add just enough of the (very expensive) radioisotope to make it detectable by analytical tools. The difference between "detectable" and "of public safety concern" is several orders of magnitude.

If the labelling level is such that it is just sufficient to make a good signal when you are testing the fuel neat, once it is burned and dispersed into the environment it should not only be harmless, but fall below the level of detectability.
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jock88
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[*] posted on 18-12-2014 at 07:29



Just when the lead was gone, here comes Tritium!!


We are still not sure what the radio active stuff being used actually is.
It is strange there is no information on it seeing that it has been used in South America for years.

edit

Radioactive markers based on tritium, iodine 131, or sulphur 35 have been used for tracing crude oil and motor fuels in pipelines and in storage facilities. Essentially for tax reasons, each type of motor fuel or other fuel intended for the general public has a specific marker added to it, called a “customs tracer”, which is generally a specific dye added in a quantity determined by the regulations of the marketing country.

US Pat. 20130305596

[Edited on 19-12-2014 by jock88]
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[*] posted on 19-12-2014 at 06:22


Possibly, it is kept secret to frustrate removal attempts.

This paper specifically describes the use of deuterium-labelled alkanes as a marker to recognize illegal diesel fuel:

Suzuki Y. et al, A Novel Method to Identify Illegal Diesel Fuel, II: the Use of [1-D] n-Alkane with Stable Hydrogen Isotope Analysis
Chemistry Letters, Vol. 35 (2006) No. 5 P 532-533

I would not be surprised if the isotope used in Ireland is actually stable, not radioactive. Media coverage of technical subjects is hardly ever accurate, and spreading slightly wrong information may even be deliberate.

Also, the public will regard the addition of a radioactive compound to fuel, no matter how small and insignificant its level may be, as highly undesirable.

[Edited on 19-12-2014 by phlogiston]




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careysub
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[*] posted on 19-12-2014 at 06:53


Quote: Originally posted by phlogiston  
Possibly, it is kept secret to frustrate removal attempts.

This paper specifically describes the use of deuterium-labelled alkanes as a marker to recognize illegal diesel fuel:

Suzuki Y. et al, A Novel Method to Identify Illegal Diesel Fuel, II: the Use of [1-D] n-Alkane with Stable Hydrogen Isotope Analysis
Chemistry Letters, Vol. 35 (2006) No. 5 P 532-533

I would not be surprised if the isotope used in Ireland is actually stable, not radioactive. Media coverage of technical subjects is hardly ever accurate, and spreading slightly wrong information may even be deliberate.


If assume the article is incorrect, then yeah.

This could be done in the same way I described above for tritium. The trade-off is that the tritium would be easier to detect, if field surveys were called for, for example.

Stable isotope ratios require more specialized instrumentation, like a GC system equipped with an isotope ratio mass spectrometer http://web.gps.caltech.edu/~als/research-articles/2006/sessi....

This would be okay if the use was for prosecuting cases. Detecting smuggled fuel in the field would require having to send all samples back to a central lab for testing.

Quote:
Also, the public will regard the addition of a radioactive compound to fuel, no matter how small and insignificant its level may be, as highly undesirable.


This is certainly a consideration. Notice that alarm was generated among the scientifically-literate audience here.
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jock88
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[*] posted on 21-12-2014 at 13:11



As it is all oil (diesel) that has been 'laundered' needs to be sent back to a lab for testing as it is not possible to detect if the stuff had dye (only dye, none of the new fangled radio tracing additive) in it previously (now illegally removed).

With the new system the dye is still added to the fuel so you can see if someone is using illegal fuel (not taxed) in there car at a glance.
The radio active stuff is aimed at stopping the big time launderers.

BTW ' laundering' means removing the dye so that the fuel looks like the taxed stuff (clear and white).

On a side note I think in Germany they also add a smelling agent to the non taxed stuff.
Once shared a joke with two 'thumbing' Germans, that in Germany you would have to remove the dye and then add Eau de Cologne to bet rid of the bad pong.
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[*] posted on 21-4-2016 at 02:16


Deuterium is pretty cheap, if you add tracer levels of it, and seems the most practical/undetectable tracer option. And more acceptable than a radioactive tracer.



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