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n00bfiles - Viewing n00b: Uranium, "nuclear fallout"

n00bfile #6588
  • Written By: jacko da c
  • Submitted: Apr 21, 2006 at 7:29 pm
  • n00b's Name: Uranium, "nuclear fallout"
  • Game: Real Life
  • Votes: 28
  • Score: 9.36
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When I heard this story, it gave me quite the chuckle. The one blood-related uncle I have (on either side) is going back to college at some community college in Michigan. He's going for some medical degree, so he's taking specialized classes in chemistry, biology, etc. Well in one of his classes they were covering radioactivity for something (radiology, radiation therapy, etc.), so my uncle had a brilliant idea: he should bring in his pet block of Uranium!

Now my unlce didn't just happen upon a block of uranium hiking in the woods of Michigan. That doesn't just happen, what with governments guarding their stores of that troublesome element 92. Back before my grandfather joined the army and fought in WWII, he was part of some group testing radioactive elements for uses and other things. Some of his colleagues went on to work for the Manhattan Project. But anyways, everyone in the group received a rock of Uranium, along with one of those watches painted with radium paint to make them glow in the dark. Little did they know that Phosphorus has the same effect, without that nasty radiation that got the painters and wearers sick. Oh well, my uncle and grandfather still wore it for years, and their wrists didn't fall off.

This was before my grandfather was married, so he kept this rock, even after marriage, my mother was born, and eventually my uncle was born. My uncle grew up, and at some point during that time, my grandfather gave the rock to my uncle. Time went on, the cold war persisted. The warehouse that housed the small office product business my other grandfather owned was designated a fallout shelter should the USSR deside to nuke Maine of all places (hey Bath Iron Works is a major navy shipbuilding factory). My grandfather (that owned the warehouse) was given big tins to keep water in shielding it from radiation, a geiger counter to check the surroundings after the "fallout", a few rocks with trace amounts of radon to check to see if the geiger counter was functional, and a 12-gauge shotgun to go out and shoot people who were contaminated who weren't fortunate enough to find shelter in order to protect those who weren't contaminated. The shotgun was scrapped, the tins remained empty, and the geiger counter and rocks were given to my father who kept them in his bedside drawer.

Ok back to the story of my uncle. It's now 2006, and my uncle brings in the Uranium for some college level "show and tell". His professor doesn't believe it that it's Uranium, and asks if he can keep it overnight to do some tests to prove him wrong. Well it was pure uranium (despite it's radioactivity, the half life of uranium is 760 million years), and the college wasn't ready for it. It called the NRC, EPA, DEP, FBI, along with the local sheriff. When my uncle came in the next day, he went straight to the Dean's office, where representatives from all these groups drilled him all day long about how he got this rock. After several hours, they were convinced that he didn't have a huge store of Uranium hidden somewhere and that he was a terrorist stupid enough to show his professor a sample of his Uranium that he was either trying to enrich into Plutonium or sell to other terrorists abroad. They gave him back the rock because it was too small to enrich or sell, and it had sentimental value to him. That night he called my mom to make sure his version of the story of the Uranium checked out with hers, and to give her the heads up that she may get a call or someone at the door from these departments to make sure. That's how I heard the story, and we never got a call or an agent at our door.