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Author: Subject: Radioactive boy scout update....
franklyn
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[*] posted on 16-8-2007 at 17:48
Radioactive boy scout update....


Quote:
Originally posted by DDTea
Look at the case of David Hahn, building a breeder reactor and irradiating his whole neighborhood!


Uh Oh , he's back
it's always the exceptional case that characterizes the lone experimentor and
if home labs with chemicals and explosives weren't enough to put out a scare
this must be the first nuclear super fund cleanup precipitated by an individual.
Mr.Hahn's current mugshot shows a man apparently afflicted with carcinomas
from enviornmental radiation exposure.

[img]http://cmsimg.freep.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?Site=C4&Date=20070803&Category=NEWS04&ArtNo=70803062&Ref=AR[/img]

Background ( no pun intended ) here _
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hahn
Current developments _
http://freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070803/NEWS04/...

.

[Edited on 16-8-2007 by The_Davster]
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Sauron
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[*] posted on 16-8-2007 at 20:17


Do we really need TWO threads about some kid who built a Farnsworth Fusor?

Those devices are very old news

Please merge the two threads, they are on same topic.
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Xenoid
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[*] posted on 16-8-2007 at 20:30


Quote:
Originally posted by Sauron
Do we really need TWO threads about some kid who built a Farnsworth Fusor?

Those devices are very old news

Please merge the two threads, they are on same topic.


If you had read each thread correctly, you would realise they were about two different people, building two different devices!

Why don't you stop being an arrogant smart arse!...... :D

Xenoid

Edit: added "arrogant"

[Edited on 16-8-2007 by Xenoid]
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The_Davster
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[*] posted on 16-8-2007 at 21:08


Uh, 'radioactive boy scout' was initially bestowed upon David Hahn when he built a nuclear reactor in his shed 10(?) years ago. Consisting of stuff like powdered lantern mantles and radium watchhands. The EPA took his stuff.


The other thread is the media reusing the term for the farnsworth fusor guy. A safe device.




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Sauron
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[*] posted on 16-8-2007 at 22:22


Hey Xenoid

Kiss My Royal Irish "Arse"

My suggestion was a mild and harmless one, done without rancor.

It did not call for an insult from you.

[Edited on 17-8-2007 by Sauron]
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MadHatter
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[*] posted on 16-8-2007 at 22:46
Short Life


It's a shame that he may have shortened his life in pursuit of science, but IIRC, Marie Curie
did the same thing. The damage to his face looks pretty bad. And I thought I was ugly !




Power comes from the barrel of a gun !
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Sauron
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[*] posted on 16-8-2007 at 22:48


I am not familiar with the case of David Hahn.

Surely whatever he built in his (whatever) could not have been a nuclear reactor (pile) as he could not have had any fuel.

Radium watch dials do not qualify.

Nor could he have "irradiate his whole neighborhood" as stated by DDTea.

Those are the hysterical claims of irresponsible new media.

I'd appreciate some facts, please, preferably not from Wilkepedia or Everything.com etc.

You can't make a reactor without fissile fuel of sufficient enrichment. So what did he have and how did he proceed?

Or did he have his own enrichment plant in the next room? I'd hate to have his electric bill. OakRidge depends on a lil ole thing called the TVA for its electrical power. You don't enrich uranium on Everready Energizers.

I'm also not prepared to diagnose the nature of Hahn's skin condition from a photograph. Franklyn are you a pathologist, oncologist or dermatologist? Or just putting 2 and 2 together and getting 235? Or 241?

Much more likely that he like a lot of us pale nordic types is prone to skin cancer from too much UV. Luminous radium dials were unhealthy for those who painted them and licked the brushes. Probably not too healthy for those who wore them, either. Working with radium didn't do Pierre Curie any good (except professionally) but his wife and collaborator lived to a ripe old age. And they isolated polonium, as well as radium and a lot of other hot stuff. Mme. Curie is the one who insisted that polonium be named after her country - she being a Pole.
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Sauron
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[*] posted on 16-8-2007 at 23:35


Hahn probably did as much harm to himself from heavy metal toxicity as from radiation.

1000 times normal background radiation is still insignificant. Bear in mind that in many parts of the globe people are still dwelling above deposits of ores and radon accumulates in their homes. This is a simple fact and causes alarm only because people have been conditioned to be irrationally afraid of radiation. Nevertheless it is all around us all the time and more arrives from space in the form of cosmic rays all the time. It is not something anyone can protect themselves from, or be protected from. It was naturally in the environment before the Curies, before Rutherford, before Bohr. Since the dawn of time radioactivity has been omnipresent and we didn't even know it existed.

Hahn may have acted irresponsibly, and he may have acted stupidly. Or maybe not. His skin condition may or may not indicate he will pay a price for his actions far beyond anything the EPA and the NRC can extract. Or not.
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Xenoid
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[*] posted on 17-8-2007 at 04:27


Quote:
Originally posted by Sauron
Hey Xenoid

Kiss My Royal Irish "Arse"

My suggestion was a mild and harmless one, done without rancor.

It did not call for an insult from you.

[Edited on 17-8-2007 by Sauron]


Hey Sauron

Errr.... No thanks! About your Irish arse, that is!

You're a fine one to talk about insults, the following are some of your rants from the Ballotechnics thread;

"There is no doubt?
Why should anyone believe anything you say?
You are a bs artist.
Document your claims from the peer reviewed scientific literature.
Or shut up.
So far you have done nothing but waste this forum's time and space."

"Don't waste your breath. He's some kid having us all on, talking through his ass."

"If you were foolish enough to say that to my face you would need some dental work and perhaps some attention from an orthopedist."

Talk is cheap! You certainly have the Irish "gift of the gab", I'll say that for you!

Xenoid
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[*] posted on 17-8-2007 at 04:38


Please take your personal issues elsewhere or I'll make sure you do. That applies to both of you. Period.

Oh and Sauron, please use the edit function instead of doubleposting.




One shouldn't accept or resort to the mutilation of science to appease the mentally impaired.
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tumadre
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[*] posted on 17-8-2007 at 11:07


David bought/obtained thousands of lantern mantles from surplus stores and to isolate the thorium from the ash, he used Lithium from Li batteries

He removed the tritium contained in a waxy substance inside the gun sights, and then returned the sights to the store or manufacturer for repair--each time collecting another tiny quantity of tritium. When he had enough, (this amounted to about 60 returns), he smeared the waxy substance over the beryllium strip (the neutron source, radium was the alpha emitter)and targeted the gun at uranium powder obtained from other sources.

he then took the highly radioactive radium and americium out of their respective lead casings and, after another round of filing and pulverizing, mixed those isotopes with beryllium and aluminum shavings, all of which he wrapped in aluminum foil. What were once the neutron sources for his guns became a makeshift "core" for his reactor. He surrounded this radioactive ball with a "blanket" composed of tiny foil-wrapped cubes of thorium ash and uranium powder, which were stacked in an alternating pattern with carbon cubes and tenuously held together with duct tape.

Sauron Listen:
whatever nonsense you have heard about 1000 times background radiation, that was after he dumped the 11 or so pounds of thorium, U-232,238 thorium oxide ash into the city dump

A vegetable can, for example, registered at 50,000 counts per minute
The Radioactive Boy Scout
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Sauron
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[*] posted on 17-8-2007 at 12:20


Your source is a highly sensationalized book by a former EPA employee who has made a career out of this non-event.

The reactor was never a reactor, the fuel was never fuel.

What was left behind, was hauled off and disposed of as low level waste so don't try to make it sound like it was anything but low level waste.

Thorium harvested from lantern mantles? Thorium and its compounds are all commercially available. Uranium and its compounds are all commercially available. Big deal. If you look in Org.Syn. you will see a prep of phenylacetone (a favorite of many on this forum) employing a tube furnace and reaction tube charged with a substantial amount of thorium (oxide, thoria). The original Fischer-Tropsch process used thoria catalyst. Were those nuclear reactors?

Hardly.

I would not have done what Hahn did, but, don't swallow all of Finklestein's guff. Don't be a radiation hysteric. Those are just as bad for all of us as chemical hysterics. Too many of both.
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tumadre
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[*] posted on 17-8-2007 at 13:51


I'm not being a radiation hysteric, indeed, if i had some Th-232 i'd make some U-232 myself

but it remains his testimony that 99% of whatever he had, was disposed of before the building was disposed of
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Ozone
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[*] posted on 17-8-2007 at 14:42


Multiplicative media, nothing more. There was never anything near criticality. There were low level neutron fluxes, but seriously, nothing even like a 252Ca howitzer. The biggest problem was likely all of the Be. that and the fact that all of that crap was finely divided.

Relax, it's Friday,

O3




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Elawr
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[*] posted on 17-8-2007 at 16:03


What Hahn did was create a neutron source of sufficient flux to transmute his thorium into other radionuclides. Over time, he had accumulated enough unstable isotopes to increase manyfold the radioactive emissions of his little backyard rig. I would say this qualifies as a nuclear reaction!



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Ozone
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[*] posted on 17-8-2007 at 16:20


I agree, totally, that there were nuclear reactions. There was not, however, any sort of neutron flux nor fuel density any where near what would be required to go critical (an actual reactor).

Cheers,

O3




-Anyone who never made a mistake never tried anything new.
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MargaretThatcher
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[*] posted on 17-8-2007 at 17:44


A nuclear reactor does not have to be a critical reactor.

Also, the injuries on the geezer's face do not look like radiation damage to me. They are healing for a start.

[Edited on 18-8-2007 by MargaretThatcher]




The reformative effect of punishment is a belief that dies hard, I think, because it is so satisfying to our sadistic impulses. - Bertrand Russell
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The_Davster
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[*] posted on 17-8-2007 at 17:59


Quote:
Originally posted by MargaretThatcher
geezer


I think he is around 30




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[*] posted on 17-8-2007 at 18:31


Quite freaky but poor guy, unfortunately he lived in a far too populated area. Maybe he'd better waited for a few years and then moved to the Austrailian outback and build the reactor there. There you can also find uranium ore and thus make your reactor fuel yourself.
The method how he created the neurons with Am241 is good, but I wonder if you could improve it by accumulation of Pu239 by the neutrons generated by the alpha capture of Beryllium and later the fission of Pu239.
Maybe this is possible by grinding Am241, Be and U238 to fine powder and press it to a small pile.
This small pile is than placed in the middle of a block sintered of U238 and Be. So I think the following thing is happening:

Am241=>237Np + 1 4He (alpha) 237Np has unforunately a long half life (2144000 years)
9Be + 4He => n
U238 + n => Pu239 (long half life)
Pu 239 + n => Pu240 (probability of 38 to 27%)
or better Pu 239 + n => 144 Ba +94Sr +2n or 130Sb +107 Tc +3n

Nearly all the fission products of Pu239 are highly radioactive and will probably emmit alpha
Since Beryllium reflects neutrons and captures alpha forming C13, which decays releasing neutrons, the following brutto reaction happens

2 241Am=> 2 4He
2 4He +2Be...=>2n
------------------------
U238+n (239U=>239Np)=>Pu239
Pu239 + n => 240Pu
Pu239 + n => very unstable fission products probably emmiting alpha, good (since 4He + Be =>n) + 2-3 n (very good)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2 neutrons necessary for 2-3 neurons and alot of alpha (probabillity 62-73%)+ or 240Pu (relativly stable)
So the reaction produces as much neutrons eighter by alpha capture (from 241 Am or fission products of 239Pu) of Beryllium or by fission of Pu239 than it needs to produce Pu239 from U238

So you only have to run the reactor for a long time, the longer you run it the more Pu239 is formed and the more fission happens. I also think the separation of Pu239 and 240 isn't a that great deal by mass spectroscopy, (in this case called a Calutron http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calutron) since the Plutonium in the reactor is about 70% Pu239 and all the other elements can be removed chemically, so there's alot less work than with natural uranium with 0,72% U235

Corrected some misstakes

[Edited on 18-8-2007 by hinz]
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Sauron
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[*] posted on 17-8-2007 at 19:09


33 at time of his arrest.

If you define a nuclear reactor as any vessel in which a nuclear reaction takes place then lots of things are nuclear reactors. But the definition renders the phrase meaningless.

The thorium from lantern mantles was simply the natural isotope mix, not enriched. The same with any uranium he had.

I have not seen any quantification of how much radium he had and in what state. Scraping of luminous paint from how many watch/clock dials and hands?

Americium harvested from how many smoke detectors?

Tritium from 50 gunsights is trivial.

Geometry is important. Density is important. There is absolutely nothing to indicate that Hahn possessed or possesses a sophisticated understanding of nuclear physics or chemistry. A merit badge as a Boy Scout is not a PhD from MIT or Berkeley.

Finely divided Be is a chemical hazard, but inefficient as a neutron reflector, and Al foil hardly better.

So it really boils down to how much radium and americium he had and in what condition. The notion that he managed to transmute his totally nonenriched thorium, is I think preposterous. The argument that 99% of what he had was already dumped, is also a sidesplitter, because if it was all that hot any nuclear spectroscopist - gamma spectroscopy is something I do know about - could follow its train. Did Hahn ever divulge where he dumped his cache? Did EPA or NRC ever locate it? We have very sophisticated national means of locating hot stuff like that, and teams like NEST to ferret such stuff out. Where's the beef?

I think it is very convenient for Finklestein (author of the book on Hahn) that the extent of Hahn's failure can't be quantified, and so he can go on pretending Hahn succeeded and was therefore a danger.

Hahn was and is a crank who has gotten altogether too much publicity. I am amazed that a hitch in the USN and another in the Corps did not mature him, as evidenced by his alleged theft of 16 smoke detectors, presumably not because he was worried about smoking in bed. Anyway you know how little Americium is in 16 detectors?

The Arabs now rotting in a UK prison were planning on harvesting 5000 and they would still have had less than a gram.

Hinz, uranium is extremely pyrophoric, especially in a finely divided state. You do not want to be involved in a uranium fire, which is very hard to extinguish, look at its position on the electronegative scale and you will see that water would make it worse. Gringing uranium calls for very specialized equipment and techniques and experienced personnel.

The pyrophoricity of uranium is why we prefer DU penetrators to tungsten ones - better after-armor effects.

[Edited on 18-8-2007 by Sauron]
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MargaretThatcher
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[*] posted on 18-8-2007 at 16:57


Hey, I would call him a geezer. It's a dialect thing. He is a geezer. Looks like something has blown up in his face to me.

Sauron makes good points. I don't know whether he got any nuclear reactions to occur, maybe he did. In effect he had a large lump of mildly radioactive crap in his shed. The health & safety fascists went nuts and some other geezer made a book out of it.

I used to turn the linac up to maximum energy, align the x-ray beam with my boss's chair in the room above and see what dose I could give his balls through 4 feet of boron doped concrete. I can't remember the actual dose but it was significant and still legal. The bastard.




The reformative effect of punishment is a belief that dies hard, I think, because it is so satisfying to our sadistic impulses. - Bertrand Russell
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Sauron
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[*] posted on 18-8-2007 at 17:40


Amazing you could hit such a small target. What was the beam spread?

Anyway I reckon you summed up the Hahn incident pretty accurately. An over-hyped non-event.

Those of you down under will remember Nana Vint, formerly of Australian 60 Minutes. Her nickname (well deserved) was Nona Vent. She interviewed me once by satellite link from DC when doing a story on a dodgy South Australian shares market scam I was also investigating. My 15 min of glory on Oz TV. It was a good story, the bad guys went to jail, truth and justice prevailed.
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[*] posted on 10-9-2007 at 05:15


Do you still have that video?
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Sauron
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[*] posted on 10-9-2007 at 05:56


What, from 23 years ago? Of course not.
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[*] posted on 16-11-2016 at 04:31


I didn't see this news posted but then again it happened a few months ago.

This fall, the “Radioactive Boy Scout” died at age 39




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