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N. Koreans Let American Scientist Hold Lump of Plutonium
Livescience.com ^ | 2/22/2010 | Phillip F. Schewe

Posted on 03/19/2010 12:20:56 AM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld

Siegfried Hecker, sitting in a cold conference room, was asked by his North Korean hosts if he would like to see their "product." "Yes," Dr. Hecker replied. "Do you mean plutonium?"

Hecker, former director of the U.S. weapons lab at Los Alamos and familiar with the hazardous properties of plutonium, was surprised when two technicians carried a small red metal box into the room. Inside was a white wooden box containing two glass jars -- they looked like marmalade jars -- one containing a piece of plutonium metal, the other plutonium powder. He later asked if he could hold the jar with the metal. Only then was he pretty sure it was plutonium, because of its heaviness and because it was warm.

The warmth came from the radioactive rays emitted by plutonium. Fortunately, the rays were weak enough to be harmless, but the metal is potentially deadly if ingested or inhaled. And, of course, plutonium is particularly deadly when it powers a nuclear bomb, as it did in the nuclear explosion that obliterated Nagasaki during World War II.

The threshold for being considered a nuclear power pretty much means that a country must possess enough plutonium, about 13 pounds, to make a nuclear bomb. This dangerous element takes its name from Pluto, the god of the underworld.

Hecker has been to North Korea six times. On his first visit, in 2004, he was handed the sample of plutonium, he believes, because the North Koreans wanted to impress upon the U.S. the seriousness of their nuclear efforts. Even though at that time he was no longer Los Alamos director, Hecker was an acknowledged expert on plutonium, and would be sure to recognize what the North Koreans had done.

(Excerpt) Read more at livescience.com ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: hecker; nkorea; nkorean; northkorea; northkorean; nuclear; plutonium; radioactive

1 posted on 03/19/2010 12:20:56 AM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
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One lump of Plutonium.The most toxic substance in the universe.
2 posted on 03/19/2010 12:27:18 AM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Wernher Von Braun)
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To: sonofstrangelove

Thats looks like a turd.

Meanwhile, isnt it known as Prutorium “Element: Pr” in North Korea?


3 posted on 03/19/2010 12:31:04 AM PDT by ketelone
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To: sonofstrangelove

Dr. Hecker assures us the plutonium was completely harmless.

4 posted on 03/19/2010 12:31:47 AM PDT by TigersEye (It's the Marxism, stupid! ... And they call themselves Progressives.)
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To: ketelone

That’s Prutonium in China.


5 posted on 03/19/2010 12:32:06 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: ketelone

Its chemical symbol is still Pu-element 94 on the Periodic Table.If you have of that rock you can level a city with it.


6 posted on 03/19/2010 12:34:06 AM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Wernher Von Braun)
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To: TigersEye

LOL


7 posted on 03/19/2010 12:34:45 AM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Wernher Von Braun)
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To: sonofstrangelove

I believe that toxicity would only be achieved if it were turned into a microfine powder and divided among humans to inhale, eventually killing all by lung cancer.

In solution or as a coarse powder, its toxicity to man is about the same as caffeine.


8 posted on 03/19/2010 12:35:05 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: HiTech RedNeck

I still would not pick up that rock up.


9 posted on 03/19/2010 12:36:03 AM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Wernher Von Braun)
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To: sonofstrangelove

Emitting alpha particles in its decay (some of its daughter products also emit betas, but there are no gammas in its decay chain), it would be harmless to hold it in a glass jar like the scientist did.


10 posted on 03/19/2010 12:39:37 AM PDT by HiTech RedNeck (I am in America but not of America (per bible: am in the world but not of it))
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To: HiTech RedNeck

That is true.


11 posted on 03/19/2010 12:40:47 AM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("I have learned to use the word "impossible" with the greatest caution."-Dr.Wernher Von Braun)
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To: sonofstrangelove

And he was right. He has always looked like that. ;^)


12 posted on 03/19/2010 12:42:07 AM PDT by TigersEye (It's the Marxism, stupid! ... And they call themselves Progressives.)
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To: sonofstrangelove

Jimmy Carter: Nobel Prize, 2002, for giving the nuclear bomb to North Korea.

AlGore, Nobel Prize, 2007, for lying to the world about anthropogenic global warming.

Barack Hussein Obama, Nobel Prize, 2009, for not being George W. Bush.

Poor John F’ing Kerry must feel left out. Maybe the Nobel committee can give him the half of the 1973 Prize refused by Le Duc Tho.


13 posted on 03/19/2010 1:01:29 AM PDT by bIlluminati (Don't just hope for change, work for change in 2010.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Your first sentence is true. Kinda like anthrax.....you have to make it very fine and disperse it. Plutonium is heavy so most particles will fall on the ground


14 posted on 03/19/2010 1:07:01 AM PDT by dennisw (It all comes 'round again --Fairport)
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Erriment ninety fo-wa, Prutorium! :D


15 posted on 03/19/2010 2:08:48 AM PDT by ketelone
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To: HiTech RedNeck
Dr. Bernard Cohen, health physicist at University of Pittsburgh, has offered to ingest an amount of Plutonium equal in mass to the amount of caffeine that Ralph Nader would ingest.

Nader has famously pronounced that one pound of plutonium released into the environment would end life on earth. (Soviets tried this experiment in 1986 at Chernobyl. If life on earth has ended, hiding this fact is the KGB’s most successful disinformation effort ever.)

Nader's pronouncement was based on research which showed that one pound of plutonium as an aspirate contains two million lethal doses, for humans. The population of the earth at that time was around two billion people, so he borrowed a “b” from the type font and made two million into two billion and with typical left wing solipsism generalized “human life” into “life” and changed “could if applied as an aspirate into the lungs of each individual result in the deaths of most to them” to “would end life”.

It would, of course, be unfair to call Nader an alarmist.

16 posted on 03/19/2010 2:36:18 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (The naked casuistry of the high priests of Warmism would make a Jesuit blush.)
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To: sonofstrangelove
This is a fine opportunity to raise the subject of the late Harry K. Daghlian, Jr., who worked on the Manhattan Project and who accidentally irradiated himself in late August 1945, while conducting an experiment at Los Alamos.

What happened was a criticality accident that occurred when he accidentally dropped a small tungsten carbide brick onto a 14 lb plutonium bomb core. The particular core, intended for use as the THIRD atomic bomb had Japan not surrendered was called the "Demon core", which claimed the life of fellow scientist Louis Slotin in a similar accident.

The so-called Demon core was ultimately used during the Crossroads series of atomic tests in the Pacific, specifically the 'ABLE' test.
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Those little Norks haven't got a clue of what they are truly tampering with. In a perfect world they would blow themselves up, along with the Dear Leader.
17 posted on 03/19/2010 2:37:13 AM PDT by mkjessup
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
It would, of course, be unfair to call Nader an alarmist.

Grossly unfair.

18 posted on 03/19/2010 2:45:15 AM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 420 of our national holiday from reality. - 0bama really isn't one of US.)
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To: mkjessup

[nully free associating]

Plutonium, Pluto, god of the underworld, demon core, demon pass, democrat...


19 posted on 03/19/2010 2:48:30 AM PDT by null and void (We are now in day 420 of our national holiday from reality. - 0bama really isn't one of US.)
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To: sonofstrangelove
"One lump of Plutonium.The most toxic substance in the universe."

At least according to the anti-nuke left. Of course, anyone who knows any amount of real science knows that that is malarkey.

20 posted on 03/19/2010 3:55:28 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog
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To: null and void
"Grossly unfair."

Unfair but accurate (with appropriate credit to Dan Rather).

21 posted on 03/19/2010 3:58:21 AM PDT by Wonder Warthog
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets

Something similar could probably be said about a load of beach sand turned into powder and delivered into blood streams to cause clots. Sounds like another naderism.


22 posted on 03/19/2010 4:01:49 AM PDT by posterchild (Endowed by my Creator with certain unalienable rights.)
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To: sonofstrangelove

It’s supposedly very difficult to machine due to it’s 7 allotropes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allotropes_of_plutonium

I once had a brief conversation with Dr. Hecker in a salad bar line, though we didn’t discuss plutonium.


23 posted on 03/19/2010 4:08:19 AM PDT by posterchild (Endowed by my Creator with certain unalienable rights.)
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To: sonofstrangelove
One lump of Plutonium.The most toxic substance in the universe.

Where does Governmentium fit?

24 posted on 03/19/2010 4:32:21 AM PDT by john in springfield
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To: null and void
(continuing in that same vein ... )
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25 posted on 03/19/2010 4:33:13 AM PDT by mkjessup
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To: Lonesome in Massachussets
Dr. Bernard Cohen, health physicist at University of Pittsburgh, has offered to ingest an amount of Plutonium equal in mass to the amount of caffeine that Ralph Nader would ingest.

Ingesting alpha emitters is not a good idea. Won't do much harm at a distance, as even a few inches of air will stop the alphas, but inside the body they will do damage. Don't think Dr. Cohen was really serious.

26 posted on 03/19/2010 4:37:37 AM PDT by Moltke (DOPE will get you 4 to 8 in the Big House - HOPE will get you 4 to 8 in the White House.)
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To: Moltke
Plutonium taken orally is poorly absorbed and most of it is quickly eliminated. Plutonium has a long enough half life that only a very small percentage of it will decay while in the body. As an aspirate it stays in the body more or less for life, hence the distinction.

The specific toxicity of plutonium is about the same as caffeine. I do not suggest mixing plutonium with your morning cup of joe.

Professor Cohen was absolutely serious. He believes that the health risks of foregoing nuclear power are far greater than nuclear power ever could be, by orders of magnitude. Alternative energy sources all present higher health risks, and the alternative of foregoing economic activity has health implications. Longevity correlates with prosperity more strongly than any other identified factor. Being poor makes you unhealthy. Basically, the trade-off of foregoing nuclear power is that we trade prosperity and health for poverty and illness.

BTW, Cohen estimates that if nuclear waste were simply discarded into the environment, into the Mississippi for instance, about one in 10,000 atoms would ever be ingested by a human being (a surprisingly high amount) but the health effects would still be less serious than the poverty resulting from foregoing nuclear power. Again, no one is recommending careless disposal of nuclear waste when far more sensible alternatives are available, but it just shows how irrational and hysterical the arguments about nuclear power have become.

27 posted on 03/19/2010 5:56:02 AM PDT by Lonesome in Massachussets (The naked casuistry of the high priests of Warmism would make a Jesuit blush.)
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