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Uranium Chemistry (2008) (carlwillis.wordpress.com)
57 points by ohaikbai 10 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 28 comments

> I add bleach, stir, and repeat, dodging the cloud of chlorine gas wafting out of the bucket.

and he lived to write about it...

People freak out way too much over small amounts of chlorine and I don't know why, it's pretty irresponsible that he wasn't wearing a full face gasmask and all that said maybe his face melted off in the shower after he finished the blog post but all in all he seems to know what he's doing.

this is the point where this page went from "Ok, this guy is comfortable taking risks" to "Ok, I'm out" for me.

This entire blog is very interesting radiation-wise. Right on the front page it has nice photos of Chernobyl reactor, which are refreshing (mainstream pics are usually garbages of clothes/tables/etc, but this guy is addicted to tech and highlights devices and reactor rooms instead).

Jeez, his back patio must be crazy radioactive.

For those at home, you probably don’t want to be grinding up large quantities of uranium ore on your back porch with zero PPE and no cleanup methodology at all.

The problem isn't so much the uranium, it's the radium that is present in the ore in secular equilibrium. During the carbonate precipitation it is separated as radium carbonate. It's worrying that the word "radium" doesn't show up once in the whole text.

Uranium isn’t all that radioactive, though.

Yeah. If it didn't have a half life of a billion years it wouldn't still be around for us to mine, and all things being equal radioactivity is inversely proportional to half life.

Uranium is an alpha decay emitter. While it won't make you (literally) glow in the dark, inhaling uranium dust is pretty toxic radiologically and can cause significant damage internally. In addition, it isn't great for you chemically.

When it decays, it also releases radon, which causes additional problems.

Are there worse things? Sure. Is it safe to be around Uranium dust? No.


Doing this on the property of most nuclear laboratories would probably be considered an incident. If a nuclear physicist employed at a national lab or major university did this at home and was discovered they would probably lose their job. I just find it interesting that doing this is in some ways more accessible to the general public than to people who might have some reason to experiment with this without being nuclear chemists.

...because you never know when some yellowcake will come in handy?

In all seriousness - is there a practical application to producing uranium in one’s kitchen?

You might wish to get into the pottery business. Uranium glazes give striking oranges and reds. If you are into decorative glass, uranium salts give beautiful yellow and green shades. And it's fluorescent!

It also apparently leaches out in contact with acidic foods.

Not good for a toxic heavy metal.

That fluorescence will kill you (depending on how you handled it).

What's life without striking oranges and reds, or beautiful yellow and green shades?

Are you seeking to disrupt the US Radium Corporation?

Just don't try to fly anywhere in the USA for a while after playing around with this stuff.

Actually Thunderf00t brought some Uranium on a plane back from the US and it was fine.

Is this a joke? "Go find an old uranium mine" and DIY high PH acid chemistry without precautions and proper equipment. Sounds totally safe. Beware of idiots reading this, making yellowcake and selling it to a regular Sheldon Cooper.

It reminds me of the 1950s science kit which advised kids to "follow in the footsteps of Madam Curie"

Also interesting thing to mention: HF is actually a 'weak acid', its reactivity and danger comes from the presence of fluorine not the H bond which is what determines something's acid strength.

As a chemist I really enjoy this. It only gets scary where he details that you can buy HF hydrofluouric acid over the counter... That is interesting to say the least. Can't buy that anywhere here...

He didn't purchase lab grade HF, it's "just" commercial "Whink Rust Stain Remover". In all countries, buying customer chemical products is always a way to bypass the regulation and get otherwise hard-to-obtain chemicals, as long as you know where they can be found.

Though, selling chemicals in general is less regulated in the U.S, getting the same "Rust Stain Remover" in other parts of the world is certainly more difficult.

In certain countries getting Sodium Biflouride (such as from armor etch) is easier and it readily turns into HF. Of course you should however still obtain the relevant licences, in the UK this is the EAP licence and it lasts for 6 months and is fairly straightforward as long as you've never been convicted of a crime.

Alternative title: how to get an FBI file just by visiting one webpage

How will the FBI know what websites I visit? Does HN sell them the onclick data?

From the NSA

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