REALLY LATE OFF LIST REPLY Uranium Nitrate- a few comments
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- From: BOB KISS <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2007 11:20:52 -0400
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Since 1993, 8P9FF
A fellow ham operator!?!? -.. .- -- -. --..--
From: Robert W. Schramm [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 5:48 PM
Subject: Uranium Nitrate- a few comments
Bob Schramm is here "reading the mail" as we old ham radio operators used to
say. That means
listening in but not talking. I was waiting to see what the direction of the
discussion would be.
Not being a chemist, I'm not sure how uranium nitrate is made but I suspect
one simply combines
nitric acid and uranium metal. Its probably an exothermic reaction and
hydrogen is produced in the process. Anyway that is not important. Uranium
metal is radioactive. It is, as I recall, a beta emitter.
Beta particles, which are electrons, will readily pass through glass but can
be stopped by a thick hunk of metal. However, beta emitters also produce
gamma rays which are similar to Xrays. I think Cor was thinking of alpha
particles which are easily stopped by a few centimeters of air. Note that
alpha emitters are also gamma emitters. Uranium metal consists of several
isotopes of uranium such as
U238, U235, U234. Mostly its U238. U235 is the fissionable isotope that I
believe Richard was talking about, but it occurs in such a small amount in
natural uranium that it contributes little to the radioactivity. If you had
some really old uranium nitrate there might be U235 in it but modern
uranium nitrate is most likely made with uranium that has had its U235
removed in order to make it into fuel rods for reactors and bombs. Certainly
one could make a diluted solution of uranium nitrate which would be less
radioactive in the sense that the intensity of radiation would be less since
there is less uranium present. However, all uranium and uranium nitrate will
produce essentiaslly the same amount of radiation which depends on the mass
of the uranium present and its halflife which is fixed.
In other words the more uranium or uranium nitrate you have, the more
radiation will be produced.
The good news is radiation follows the inverse square law which means as you
move away from the source the radiation decreases inversly as the square of
the distance. e.g. the radiation at 10 ft from a source is 1/100 that of the
radiation 1 foot from the source. 100 ft. away- 1/10,000 as much etc.
So, don't keep your jar of uranium nitrate under your pillow or on a shelf 6
inches from your head.
Also uranium nitrate should be kept in a jar or some sealed container since
it tends to absorb water. Not as bad as gold chloride though. Like most
heavy metal compounds uranium nitrate is toxic. I always warn anyone who
asks me about uranium toning or uranotypes to keep their firgers out of the
solution and to use Nitril not latex gloves and to wear eye protection.
Nitrates can also be made into explosive. Black powder= 1 part sulfur, 1
part charcoal, 2 parts sodium nitrate. Mirrors used to be silvered with real
silver by the old Brashier Process (sp?) which involved silver and nitric
acid and thus silver nitrate. Ever so often a mirror silvering lab would
explode. I doubt if, but don't know for sure if nitrates will explode when
heated. I think they might just melt. You have to get them together with
something else first. I have actually used a Geiger-Mueller counter to test
a uranotye and a uranium-toned print. Result no reading above background.
Perhaps a scintillation counter would detect something. Finally I know that
"Keepers of Light" says uranium toning is fugitive and color changes will
occur with time but none of my uranium toned prints and uranotypes have
changed any. Doesn't "Keepers" make a similar statement about cyanotype?
also tell us to coat under a yellow "bug" light. One more thin, uranium
metal is very dense. I have read that the military has been using depleated
(lacking U235) uranium to make bullets since it would have greater
penetrating power than lead.
OK, That's all folks.
P.S. I do seem to like toxic and dangerous stuff. Maybe thats why I like
Check out my web page at:
>Subject: RE: Source for Uranium Nitrate
>Date: Wed, 31 Jan 2007 10:56:01 +0100
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Judy Seigel [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> > Cor, aren't there differences in strength? Like between salad vinegar
> > glacial acetic acid? I certainly hope so.... I've had that package of
> > uranyl nitrate in my cellar all these years, oops ! It came in a metal
> > container packed in something like mica -- but over the years the
> > & most of the mica disappeared. Oops ????
>..as far as I know (and I am by no means the expert) there are no
>differences in strength. The (direct) radioactivity is of no great
>concern as I indicated in my first respond. As Dick mentioned the high
>radioactivity isotope ("radioactive variant") has been removed. I once
>tried to expose a uranium toned silver gelatine to medical Xray film,
>and obtained no image.
>(disgress: I thought that uranylnitrate is a beta emitter, that means
>that it's radiation "travells" only very short distances, it gets
>absorbed by it's enviroment. That means that it's quite save to store
>the stuff in a glass jar, even when you weight out the stuff you are not
>exposed to radiation. But if you ingest it a beta emitter can cause
>great damage on the cellular level: see the poisened russian in London
>Alexander Litvinenko. Perhaps that is the basis of the great toxicity of
>uranyl nitrate. But than again: I might be completely wrong here: Bob
>Schramm were are you when we need you...;-).. )
> > Does anyone remember--- dare I mention the name without some avenging
> > angel sweeping out of the shadows to denounce me -- Jewellia? She did
> > uranium printing, apparently -- and though memory weakens by the
> > think some of the prints were beautiful.
>..I have a realy nice Uranotype in my possesion , made by Bob Schramm
>(he knows how to handle toxic stuff, probably likes it, seeing his other
>love: mercury vapours for his daguerreotypes...;-)..
> > But if you don't tell us what "I will not..oude koeien uit de
> > > sloot halen....(dutch verb).." means, I'm going to correct you.
> > (Like don't you mean "proverb," not "verb"?) NOW, fella, what
> > does it MEAN? ("Don't teach your grandmother to suck eggs?"
> > *sounds* -- or make that *looks* -- wonderful
>No it has another meaning: (digging with google gave a good
>'Laten we geen oude koeien uit de sloot halen' (literally: 'Let's not
>remove old cows from the ditch'), is a rather odd and vivid expression,
>which the Dutch usually use when they don't want to be reminded of
>something . often something unpleasant - that has happened in the past.
>This expression is typically Dutch, referencing both the ubiquitous
>Dutch cows and the watery ditches (sloot) that border most pastures.
>Using this expression is a way of letting people know you don't want to
>talk about a certain incident. If, for example, you borrowed and crashed
>your friend's car, and even though you paid for the repairs, your friend
>keeps reminding you of the accident, you could say, 'Laten we geen oude
>koeien uit de sloot halen'.
>I guess you'll guess that I was referring to Aqua Regia, but perhaps
>it's best to leave it at that..
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