Skip to comments.Kodak confirms it had weapons-grade uranium in underground lab
Posted on 05/16/2012 7:40:05 AM PDT by Abathar
-- Kodak -- the company known for decades for its cameras and film -- this week confirmed it used weapons-grade uranium in an underground lab in upstate New York for upwards of 30 years.
A company spokesman and a former scientist for the firm say there was not enough material to sustain a nuclear chain reaction.
Former Kodak researcher Albert Filo said the uranium was alloyed with aluminum in plates sealed in sleeves that were not moved for three decades. The amount of fuel was about 3½ pounds, which experts say is less than one-tenth of the amount necessary to make a crude nuclear device.
The alloyed material "could not be readily converted to make a nuclear weapon," said Eastman Kodak spokesman Christopher Veronda. "Disassembling the device and removing these plates was a process that took highly trained experts more than a day to perform."
(Excerpt) Read more at cnn.com ...
This HEU could be related to that.
the secret ingredient in Kodachrome revealed...
If you’re looking at making a big mess, there was plenty of chemicals at Kodak to do so. One mis- (or well-) placed spark could have blown out much of the area. Abusing that reactor for such purposes would have taken far more effort than other methods producing the same results.
Just 2 blocks from that reactor, a gasoline tanker tipped over, ignited, and destroyed an entire city block. Why is peoples’ worry about one small reactor in a locked basement of a secured building orders of magnitude more intense than their worry about such trucks which drive by that same building dozens of times a day?
I would be perfectly comfortable living next door to this Koday facility. No worries at all. If I were a liberal, I would be hysterical about now and probably need oxygen. hahaha
True, but as far as terrorists are concerned a nasty dirty bomb would be 100 times more effective than a tanker explosion the next day.
“Kodak’s uranium was enriched to 93.4%. “
It may have been mostly 235, but it was highly diluted in aluminum. This was done to avoid criticality issues. Any danger is in the mind of a “journalist”.
Left-wing loons agitating in 2012.
Bush's fault! Thank goodness Obama is here now, so that his Liberal helpers in the press can help us panic over nothing.
So would I, but nothing will instill panic in people like a news headline stating that Kodak was broken into on Christmas day and the thieves successfully made off with several pounds of enriched uranium.
All they would have to do with it is nothing, bury it and walk away leaving everyone guessing what it was going to be used for.
Let the MSM panic the sheeple into all kinds of new restrictions over it.
A terrorists wet dream.
Ooops.....that was the GE pavilion.
But separating U235 from the aluminum is far, far easier than separating it from U238.
If they just had some more, the original battle between Kodak and Fuji could have turned out far differently. And no one would have dared cross Kodak after that.
I was thinking about that too, but aluminum has such a low melting point that separating the two would be pretty easy, wouldn’t it? Just thinking technically is all, those two having such different density I bet they would look like oil and water in a kiln.
lol, “Damn Yankees and their uranium!”
The alloy is more like a solution. Dissolving the Al in KOH gives you an aqueous solution that you could then maybe precipitate out the U.
I wonder if it’s an alloy, or clad plates? A Fast Burst Reactor uses highly enriched fuel, in plates, clad with aluminum. An FBR is set up to get super-prompt criticality with a limit on maximum rate, so it can’t go Trinity on you.
Did Kodak have an FBR or some similar device?
The link has a pic of SPR II with the safety shield off showing al-clad U235 plates.
Melting point of aluminum: 660°C
Melting point of uranium: 1135°C
Would probably look more like oil and rock salt.
I wonder how they made an alloy out of two such dissimilar metals.
Alas SPR is no more.
Yep - back in the mid-late '60s, my Dad designed a perimiter laser intrusion system for a super secret building that was built inside another building. No clue what it was for except is was for governmment work.
ha! Wonder why this surfaces now?
Many interesting things were going on back then.
And APRF along with it. Now we have just WSMR.
Know anything about Kodak’s gadget?
“True, but as far as terrorists are concerned a nasty dirty bomb would be 100 times more effective than a tanker explosion the next day.”
Which shows what they know.
1. Remove clothing and put in wash. Start washing machine.
2. Take shower
3. Put clothes in dryer. Turn on.
4. Schedule doctor’s visit for iodine and check up.
6. Go out to dinner.
You can’t melt apart an alloy. Copper melts at 1084, tin at 230, but when brass melts at 930, you don’t get liquid tin with chunks of copper in it.
Nope, it was news to me. ACRR is still going over in area V.
you are correct but separating the Uranium from the Aluminum is the easy part.
The hard part is stealing the devise without dying from radiation poisoning.
Although this devise is not technically a reactor it is still performing its function by the process of nuclear fission. The Californium produces neutrons that strikes the U235 that fissions and produces more neutrons. By fission the U235 produces highly radioactive daughter products.
What the article does not mention about the expert technicians dismantling of the devise is that it would be necessary to use special tools that would permit the technicians to remain at a distance from the devise to avoid lethal doses of radiation.
If terrorist could steal this devise without killing themselves they would then need special factories to then not only separate the U235 from the Aluminum they would also have to separate the U235 from all of the highly radioactive daughter isotopes and do it safely so as not to kill themselves in the process.
None of this is easy and requires a very special set of skills that your average terrorist does not pick up at the suicide bomb school.
They should have developed a first strike capability. They could have taken care of the digital photography threat to their existence in a proper way; back when it was possible.
Did you know there is a diamond in the pool? Someone was irradiating gemstones in N GIF as a piggyback, and someone dropped a diamond in the pool when it fell off the ledge. The rock shop near SNLA, Southwestern Minerals, would get business whenever we were in town for GIF.
No volunteers to get it.
Have you seen the new GIF? The old one looked like something on the set of Alien. The new one is a fantastic facility.
The work was done by scientists an engineers from what is now Eastman Chemical Co in Kingsport Tn at the Y-12 plant in Oak Ridge.
There is a really good PBS special titled Y 12 tht details the work and the fantastic transformation of farmland into a mega secret facility for enriching uranium.
Today we will visit the museum at Alamogordo NM where the fruit of that effort resulted in the atomic bomb test
and of course every rochesterian recalls the cancer cluster across the street - I think it was Rand St
Thanks, I didn't know that.
(you might mean bronze, though.)
This supports my theory that Kodak was planning a nuclear strike against Polaroid.
Long term effects of a single tanker truck explosion versus a dirty bomb are on different scales.
I’m not saying what was in kodak’s locked basment building was posing a danger. But a burning gas blaze from a truck is not the same thing as a disaster that can happen with weapons grade uranium.
No, U-235 is not good for a dirty bomb. Its half-life is something like 700 million years. Remember that a substance which is not radioactive has a half-life of infinity, The U-235 decay rate just isn’t sufficient to be a threat. I’d hold 3-1/2 pounds of U-235 in my bare hand all day long, if you want me to.
Why do you need iodine? The purpose of taking potassium iodide pills is to block the uptake of radioactive isotopes of iodine so that they won’t be concentrated in the thyroid. Potassium iodide pills will have no effect on the uptake of uranium.
Tin, zinc, whatever (yup I goofed).
You might have goofed on a detail, but your larger lesson was valid. Again I thank you for that.
Thanks - that's the obvious missing puzzle piece... Good for Kodak.
Well... in fairness, freeper bert has a better explanation, given above in post #33. Kodak actually ran the Y-12 plant in Oak Ridge TN. The Y-12 plant was the "electromagnetic separation" plant, in which gigantic mass spectrometers were used to separate the U-235 isotope from uranium that had been semi-enriched by other means (principally gaseous diffusion). The product of Y-12 was weapons-grade U-235.
Thus Kodak had the stuff because they made it themselves.
The secret matters to which I alluded may have had something to do with Kodak being allowed to keep the stuff, but that's pure speculation of course.
From reading the article, it looks like neutron radiography. That would be a connection between neutrons and film.
Sandia did neutron radiography at ACRR, but with thermals. The Cf-U system would be with fast neutrons, unless they had B-poly in the path.
That block was a mess for quite some time - about as long as it would take for hazmat crews to remove contaminated materials.
I’m not trying to minimize the issue, but people do have an overblown OMGWTFBBQ reaction to “uranium” and “dirty bomb” etc. Yeah it’d be a mess and expensive to clean up - which it would be in fairly short order.
See #38. Abusing Kodak’s U23* materials would have, shall we say, disappointing results.
IIRC, the bigger problem would be the chemical consequences of igniting the stuff.
Bet that would have made for a pretty good flash bulb.
Perhaps they were working on airborne imaging technologies that could detect weaponizable radioisotopes?
If so, its sad to see them where they are today. I know they did it to themselves, but nonetheless.
The Kodak operations at Y 12 were run with staff out of their Tennessee Eastman facility in Kingsport. Today’s Eastman Chemical was spun away from Kodak back around 1992 I believe.
They also provided major scientific and engineering support to the Holston Army Ammunition plant in Kingsport that is run today by BAE systems.
That still doesn’t tell the story of how they got the enriched uranium. The TV program on Y 12 goes to great length to explain how the facility evolved away from enrichment to very sophisticated problem solving. I would guess the alloying was done at Y 12 by the operating contractor at the time and sold to Kodak in Rochester. The contractor for many years has been Union Carbide but I am not sure they presently hold the contract.