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Mysterious device in woods!

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  • J. Marshall Reber
    Reuters reported that a device containing strontium-90 that was part of a generator? was found by three men gathering wood in Abkhazia and carried back to
    Message 1 of 9 , Feb 1, 2002
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      Reuters reported that a device containing strontium-90 that was part of
      a "generator?" was found by three men gathering wood in Abkhazia and
      carried back to their camp "for warmth?". Now they appear to be dying.
      What kind of generator are they talking about? In the woods??
    • Boomologist
      Hi Marshall, Do you have a link to an article or somewhere I may read about this? Wonder if this could have been a piece of space junk? Ron ... From: J.
      Message 2 of 9 , Feb 1, 2002
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        Hi Marshall,
        Do you have a link to an article or somewhere I may read about this? Wonder if this could have been a piece of space junk?
                    Ron
        ----- Original Message -----
        Sent: Friday, February 01, 2002 5:04 AM
        Subject: [CDV700CLUB] Mysterious device in woods!

        Reuters reported that a device containing strontium-90 that was part of
        a "generator?" was found by three men gathering wood in Abkhazia and
        carried back to their camp "for warmth?".  Now they appear to be dying.
        What kind of generator are they talking about?  In the woods??




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      • J. Marshall Reber
        I m reading this morning s Boston Globe. The article refers to the International Atomic Energy Agency and today s Science magazine.
        Message 3 of 9 , Feb 1, 2002
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          I'm reading this morning's Boston Globe. The article refers to the
          International Atomic Energy Agency and today's Science magazine.
        • Chris Smolinski
          There was a short piece on NPR yesterday afternoon about it, but they were very vague on details. It sounded like it was in the former USSR.
          Message 4 of 9 , Feb 1, 2002
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            There was a short piece on NPR yesterday afternoon about it, but they were
            very vague on details. It sounded like it was in the former USSR.

            On Fri, 1 Feb 2002, J. Marshall Reber wrote:

            > Reuters reported that a device containing strontium-90 that was part of
            > a "generator?" was found by three men gathering wood in Abkhazia and
            > carried back to their camp "for warmth?". Now they appear to be dying.
            > What kind of generator are they talking about? In the woods??
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Community email addresses:
            > Post message: CDV700CLUB@onelist.com
            > Subscribe: CDV700CLUB-subscribe@onelist.com
            > Unsubscribe: CDV700CLUB-unsubscribe@onelist.com
            > List owner: CDV700CLUB-owner@onelist.com
            >
            > Shortcut URL to this page:
            > http://www.onelist.com/community/CDV700CLUB
            >
            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
            >
            >
            >
          • carlvehse
            The device is a capsule containing a beta emitter, strontium-90 (t,1/2 = 30 y). Such capsules were used in radioisotope thermoelectric power (RTP)
            Message 5 of 9 , Feb 1, 2002
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              The "device" is a capsule containing a beta emitter, strontium-90
              (t,1/2 = 30 y). Such capsules were used in radioisotope
              thermoelectric power (RTP) generators in remote areas. The RTP
              generators used in countries within the former Soviet Union initially
              contained tens of thousands of curies (less than a couple of pounds)
              of Sr-90. Some RTP generators used in unmanned lighthouses are
              reported to have millions of curies of Sr-90. The capsule had
              apparently been removed from its shielded container before being
              abandoned in the woods. Abandoning old radioactive sources after
              stripping any shielding for scrap metal is a serious problem in the
              countries of the former Soviet Union.

              Although Sr-90 doesn't emit gamma radiation, the beta decay produces
              bremsstrahlung radiation which is similar in energy to X-ray or gamma
              radiation.


              Rick
            • jspearman757_2000
              Apparantly the problem with RTP s is efficiancy. 5% conversion of heat to electricity is pretty good for a RTP. Here are some links to RTP sites. Radioisotope
              Message 6 of 9 , Feb 1, 2002
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                Apparantly the problem with RTP's is efficiancy. 5% conversion of
                heat to electricity is pretty good for a RTP.

                Here are some links to RTP sites.

                Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs)
                (From Issue 10, April 1984)
                http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/galileo/messenger/oldmess/RTGs.html

                Is it possible to generate electricity directly from heat?
                http://www.howstuffworks.com/question136.htm

                Improved Thermoelectric Converter Units and Power Generators
                http://www.nasatech.com/Briefs/Dec99/LEW16556.html

                views on the use of RTGs
                http://www.bigwig.net/sergey/rtg.htm

                Jack Spearman
                http://www.surviveanuclearattack.com

                --- In CDV700CLUB@y..., "carlvehse" <carlvehse@y...> wrote:
                > The "device" is a capsule containing a beta emitter, strontium-90
                > (t,1/2 = 30 y). Such capsules were used in radioisotope
                > thermoelectric power (RTP) generators in remote areas. The RTP
                > generators used in countries within the former Soviet Union
                initially
                > contained tens of thousands of curies (less than a couple of
                pounds)
                > of Sr-90. Some RTP generators used in unmanned lighthouses are
                > reported to have millions of curies of Sr-90. The capsule had
                > apparently been removed from its shielded container before being
                > abandoned in the woods. Abandoning old radioactive sources after
                > stripping any shielding for scrap metal is a serious problem in
                the
                > countries of the former Soviet Union.
                >
                > Although Sr-90 doesn't emit gamma radiation, the beta decay
                produces
                > bremsstrahlung radiation which is similar in energy to X-ray or
                gamma
                > radiation.
                >
                >
                > Rick
              • carlems
                Looking at the articles, it reminded me of the Peltier Junctions that I saw American Science & Surplus selling about a year ago. They put waste heat to use
                Message 7 of 9 , Feb 1, 2002
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                  Looking at the articles, it reminded me of the "Peltier Junctions"
                  that I saw American Science & Surplus selling about a year ago. They
                  put waste heat to use by converting it to electricity. The thought
                  of a nuclear powered lighthouse is also entertaining but with the low
                  efficiency of RTG's I can see why they would need such a high-level
                  power source to generate sufficient current.
                • Boomologist
                  I think it would be marvelous to have an RPT setting in my living room. It could provide enough power for a small television and on those cold nights could
                  Message 8 of 9 , Feb 1, 2002
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                    I think it would be marvelous to have an RPT setting in my living room. It could provide enough power for a small television and on those cold nights could also double as a foot warmer while watching the television.
                    All joking aside, I was reading about some new technology they are trying with these that shows to be quite efficient. Much better than 5% and probably better than 50%. There are a couple of good pages about them at http://www.ne.doe.gov/space/amtec.html
                                    Ron
                     
                  • carlems
                    One of the links regarding this mentioned Russian light houses powered by RTG s. There are (were?) at least 160 of them, including one off Tallin, Estonia,
                    Message 9 of 9 , Feb 2, 2002
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                      One of the links regarding this mentioned Russian light houses
                      powered by RTG's. There are (were?) at least 160 of them, including
                      one off Tallin, Estonia, and in remote and/or inaccessible areas such
                      as the Arctic. After some more searching I learned that even the US
                      Coast Guard experimented with nuclear lighthouses. The Baltimore
                      Light (a deep-draft caisson lighthouse near the Chesapeake Bay) was
                      fitted with a 60W RTG that was described as being about the size of a
                      55 gallon drum. One source said this was tried in 1964, another in
                      1968. The experiment was not repeated, but it is certainly a
                      fascinating bit of history. With good shielding, the RTG should have
                      left no trace of its presence at the Baltimore Light.
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