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Specialty Chemistry Forums => Nuclear Chemistry and Radiochemistry Forum => Topic started by: mike on October 20, 2005, 06:57:45 PM

Title: Radioactive sample storage
Post by: mike on October 20, 2005, 06:57:45 PM
What would be a suitable method for storage of Co-60 (as it is a gamma emitter)? And Sr-90 (beta -emitter)? And what about alpha emitters? Should they all be stored together in a lead lined box? or is any metal box suitable?

Note: these are sealed sources by the way.

Oh and just found americium-241 as well!
Title: Re:Radioactive sample storage
Post by: jdurg on October 21, 2005, 09:12:56 AM
Cobalt-60 is a pretty high energy source so you'd definitely want to keep that stored in a lead box as the density of the lead will help block the gamma rays.  Alpha emitters can be kept in a simple thick glass vial as the alpha particles can't travel all too far.  However, there is no such thing as a 'pure alpha emitter'.  Those alpha emitters also give off gamma rays, and some of their daughter products give off some high energy rays as well.  

When dealing with any radioactive source, smaller is better.  I.E. the shorter/smaller the dose you get, the better off you are.  One exposure while you admire a lump of uranium metal isn't going to kill you, but constant exposure 24/7 will.  Just to play it safe, it's always a good idea to store samples in containers which are surrounded in numerous layers of lead.  The thicker the better.  All of my radioactive samples are sealed into glass vials which are sitting in a lead lined box inside yet another lead lined box.  The geiger counter says I'm doing a good job.   ;) ;D
Title: Re:Radioactive sample storage
Post by: mike on October 21, 2005, 08:02:49 PM
Thanks mate, I never know if I am being over cautious with radioactive samples or not. The samples I have are very small and in sealed vials etc. My geiger counter doesn't show much radiation outside the box they are in but I will look at a lead box I think.
Title: Re:Radioactive sample storage
Post by: jdurg on October 24, 2005, 09:46:19 AM
No problem.  You're not going to get yourself killed by being overly cautious.  Besides, there's just something fun about going into your stash, grabbing a big wooden box that weighs a LOT, then opening it up and seeing yet another lead box inside of there, then opening that up and taking out a vial of about half an ounce of Uranium metal.  It's very 'atmospheric' and creates quite the shock when people see it.  I typically 'admire' my uranium sample at most once a month for a few minutes.  Nothing longer than that.  While the radiation is weak, it is radiation.