Skip to comments.N. Koreans Let American Scientist Hold Lump of Plutonium
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 ...
Thats looks like a turd.
Meanwhile, isnt it known as Prutorium “Element: Pr” in North Korea?
Dr. Hecker assures us the plutonium was completely harmless.
That’s Prutonium in China.
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.
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.
I still would not pick up that rock up.
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.
That is true.
And he was right. He has always looked like that. ;^)
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.
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
Erriment ninety fo-wa, Prutorium! :D
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.
[nully free associating]
Plutonium, Pluto, god of the underworld, demon core, demon pass, democrat...
At least according to the anti-nuke left. Of course, anyone who knows any amount of real science knows that that is malarkey.
Unfair but accurate (with appropriate credit to Dan Rather).
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.
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.
Where does Governmentium fit?
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.
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.