Slightly weird George

It appears to have been carrying drums of nuclear waste when the mafia used explosives to scuttle it. The informant, Francesco Fonti, said his clan had been paid £100,000 to get rid of it. What makes this story interesting is that the waste appears to be Norwegian. Norway is famous for its tough environmental laws, but a shipload of nuclear waste doesn\’t go missing without someone high-up looking the other way.

Wonder where that came from. Norway doesn\’t have a nuclear power programme. They don\’t have a nuclear industry.

Could be hospital waste, isotopes used to treat cancer I suppose, but then saying that wouldn\’t carry quite the same \”evil\” implication (although it is true that C-60 is a pretty appalling thing to find dumped on your doorstep. Kill you easily.)

An investigation by the Mail on Sunday found computers which once belonged to the NHS being broken up and burnt by children on Ghanaian rubbish dumps. They were trying to extract copper and aluminium by burning off the plastics,

Why would they do that? For the aluminium I mean. Copper, yes, lead, yes, tin, yes, but aluminium? The only aluminium on a circuit board is in the casing for the chips and you\’ll not get to that with anything less than a high temperature furnace.

BTW, I agree that people do burn the boards to get the other metals and yes, they do end up poisoning themselves by doing so. (I also continuously argue that it ends up there because we\’ve made it too expensive to deal with it here but that\’s another matter.)

But if people are going to go around claiming that people are burning circuit baords to get the Al then people are going to start wondering whether these people actually know what they\’re talking about.

2 comments on “Slightly weird George

  1. What is C-60? I thought it was Buckminster fullerene, an allotrope of carbon rather than isotope. Or does it stand for something else altogether?

    Tim adds: My error. Co-60. Isotope of cobalt used as an emitter in cancer treatments and food irradiation (the latter I think, the former I’m sure of).

  2. Food irradiation uses C060 or Cs137 (rarely), or artificially-generated β radiation via electron acceleration. Sometimes, X-rays are used. C060 is plentiful and the γ radiation it produces (via decay of the daughter Ni60) is penetrating.

    It should be noted that the doses used in irradiative sterilisation are huge, in the kilogray or tens of kilogray range. Five or six gray will almost inevitably kill a human. There is thus a substantial hazard to the operators of such plants, which must be weighed against the risk of illness caused by food-borne pathogens.

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