Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Nuclear WHAAAT? in Boise

My guess: Someone’s been reading The Radioactive Boy Scout.

To sum up: The EPA and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission cleaned up an apartment in Boise this week where they discovered a tenant fooling around with radioactive material. From the article:

NRC said the tenant had in his possession a variety of radioactive materials that included suspected uranium, uranium salts and equipment associated with handling radioactive materials. Radiation levels in the apartment were low – reported to range from 0.5 millirem, the level in an airplane, to 1.5 millirem, the level outside of the Three Mile Island reactor after its 1979 accident.

[EPA on-scene coordinator Greg] Weigel said the two apartment occupants were, for unknown reasons, trying to separate radioactive material from store-bought good such as smoke detectors.

I will confess I’d like to get my hands on some of that radioactive Fiestaware, but that’s about my outer limit on radioactive curiosity in the home. I see enough of the real nasty stuff out at work to want to do any mixing and grinding of radioactive goodies at my own house. Though it would be fun to have a Geiger counter . . . for curiosity’s sake, of course. Not because I want to open up a lab or anything.

This story is not hitting the national news, which is odd. Given the furore over ebola and ISIS-inspired terrorism, you’d think the fact that persons unknown were found to be messing with radioactive elements on the sly would be big news. I’d like to think the absence of this story’s spread is due to the relatively minor threat the radiation in this situation poses, but I’m sure there are other news dynamics involved.

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