Fatherland Security agents above the law?

Major Variola (ret) mv at cdc.gov
Thu Sep 11 11:26:49 PDT 2003

At 10:41 AM 9/11/03 -0700, Tim May wrote:
>* depleted uranium (DU) is essentially pure U-238, with very low
>specific activity (decay rate); removal of the 2-3% of the higher
>specific activity U-235 lessens the overall decay rate of the original
>metal substantially.

Commericial airliners often contain tens of
kilograms of DU as ballast.  Ref: _Living with Radiation_,
by Frame & Kolb.  They often carry medical or other
isotopes during civilian flights too.  There are rules for
distributing those containers so no one passenger gets
too much extra dose.

DU gives off plenty of alphas.  (Thus you don't want to breathe
DU dust, which will also heavy-metal your kidneys in the
short term.)  But they're stopped by anything, including aluminum
foil-- lead pipe is overkill.  The only way to detect shielded DU
is gammas, to identify it you need gamma spectroscopy.
The neutron analysis being done at some ports of entry
only works on fissile materials.

The Fatherland Security troops are publicly embaressed and showing
their brown shirts.

Of course Pierre Curie didn't die from radiation
poisoning, he was hit by a horse drawn cart.

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