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Tektronix equipment from nuclear industry, any reason to be afraid?

Ke-Fong Lin
 

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the catchy title.

I just bought a 7L5 5MHz spectrum analyzer module for 7000 series scope, got it with L1 and L3 inputs.
There was an ad of what would be the french equivalent (leboncoin) of craiglist.
The guy who sold it, told me that it belonged to a deceased member of his family who got it from industry.
That 7L5 had a sticker that states that it's property of the french atomic energy department (CEA: Commisariat a l'Energie Atomique).
And I shouldn't, but freaked out for a second that it may be radioactive contaminated !

Ok, France isn't a 3rd world country, even if they mess up things quite often, rules are usually followed.
And I guess, if it was contaminated, it would have been disposed properly.
Plus, the CEA does a lot of theoretical physics research and that 7L5 most probably spent its live in a lab far away from any radioactive material.
In fact, I already have 500 and 5000 series modules that I got from ebay, which were originally property of PG&E nuclear services.
All my Tektronix equipment is used and even non nuclear industries may manipulate dangerous material (chemicals).

Have some you worked or are working, in fields where dangerous material (chemical, radioactive) are possibly manipulated in contact with test equipments?
In fact, how do calibration labs make sure that instruments they have to work on, are not contaminated with potentially dangerous material?


Best regards,

satbeginner
 

Hi,

CEA now that's a place you don't hear to often :-)

In 1984-1985 I worked in Fontenay-aux-Roses (South of Paris) in a CEA location where we (our Dutch Rijnhuizen Nuclear Fusion Lab) had a 2 year collaboration with them.
We were doing test with extra heating to stabilize the plasma using Varian Gyrotrons, the On-Off pulsed (minus 100kV !) Power Supply was build by Universal Voltronics Corp. (UVC) in Mount Cisco.
The part where we were had no radiation whatsoever, but there were other places where we -even with our passes- were not allowed in, so you never know.....

Un saludo,

Leo

Dan Cordova
 

Believe me, if the equipment was contaminated, it wouldn't be in your possession.

On Monday, May 6, 2019, 1:58:43 PM PDT, Ke-Fong Lin <anotherlin@...> wrote:

Hi everyone,

Sorry for the catchy title.

I just bought a 7L5 5MHz spectrum analyzer module for 7000 series scope, got it with L1 and L3 inputs.
There was an ad of what would be the french equivalent (leboncoin) of craiglist.
The guy who sold it, told me that it belonged to a deceased member of his family who got it from industry.
That 7L5 had a sticker that states that it's property of the french atomic energy department (CEA: Commisariat a l'Energie Atomique).
And I shouldn't, but freaked out for a second that it may be radioactive contaminated !

Ok, France isn't a 3rd world country, even if they mess up things quite often, rules are usually followed.
And I guess, if it was contaminated, it would have been disposed properly.
Plus, the CEA does a lot of theoretical physics research and that 7L5 most probably spent its live in a lab far away from any radioactive material.
In fact, I already have 500 and 5000 series modules that I got from ebay, which were originally property of PG&E nuclear services.
All my Tektronix equipment is used and even non nuclear industries may manipulate dangerous material (chemicals).

Have some you worked or are working, in fields where dangerous material (chemical, radioactive) are possibly manipulated in contact with test equipments?
In fact, how do calibration labs make sure that instruments they have to work on, are not contaminated with potentially dangerous material?


Best regards,

Paul Amaranth
 

A long time ago I used to work in a particle accelerator lab. We all
had radiation dosimeters and the control room was shielded with lead
and concrete. When running, the radiation levels around the accelerator
were hazardous but barely above background where we were. The lab
equipment was, well, in the lab with us. So for the most part I don't
think there should be any concern, at least for bench type lab
equipement. At a university, we had strict procedures to follow and I
would expect government facilities to be even more so.

I had no qualms about scarfing a 7000 series scope and cart that came out
of the Dept of Energy.

--
Paul Amaranth, GCIH | Manchester MI, USA
Aurora Group of Michigan, LLC | Security, Systems & Software
paul@... | Unix & Windows

thespin@...
 

CEA is just a group of research institutes. It was probably not involved with anything radioactive.

nonIonizing EMF
 

When I worked in the chemistry department at the one college we would receive donated items from the nuclear plants. They would have some sort of standard operating procedure document or label (I forget exactly back then) attached to note they were decontaminated or tested to pass some standard. I forget exactly, though there was something that the NRC I'm thinking and DOE would require per a CFR to be released from certain site locations. The nuclear plants are required to be very thorough and I've been told down to the particle in certain facilities.

Recently, when I've been shopping at the U of M Property Disposition Store I notice they have a decontamination document on their items that the college department apparently has to provide and I've watched where they weren't sure about an item one time and required the item to be sent back to the college department. It's neat to see what is unloading from the trucks if you're there at the right time.

Ke-Fong Lin
 

Hi everyone,

With all your messages, I'm quite reassured that it is almost certain that my 7L5 has no contamination issue.
At least, if things were done properly. I always have the feeling that the US is more rigorous than France (a "latin" country after all) sometimes.

Regarding the CEA, they work on both theoretical and practical aspect of nuclear energy, including military "applications".
@satbeginner, I've taken a quick look at their website for Fontenay au Rose. In the past, they've done some R&D work on spent fuel reprocessing here.
And it was "hot", with actual radioactive material manipulated. And that's much less than 10km away from Paris and my home actually!
So it's no surprise some places were off limit, they probably have industrial and perhaps military secrets to protect.

Best regards,

toby@...
 

On 2019-05-06 4:58 PM, Ke-Fong Lin wrote:
Hi everyone,

Sorry for the catchy title.

I just bought a 7L5 5MHz spectrum analyzer module for 7000 series scope, got it with L1 and L3 inputs.
There was an ad of what would be the french equivalent (leboncoin) of craiglist.
The guy who sold it, told me that it belonged to a deceased member of his family who got it from industry.
That 7L5 had a sticker that states that it's property of the french atomic energy department (CEA: Commisariat a l'Energie Atomique).
And I shouldn't, but freaked out for a second that it may be radioactive contaminated !

Ok, France isn't a 3rd world country, even if they mess up things quite often, rules are usually followed.
Many of the worst nuclear accidents have been in the soi-disant first
world, where things are routinely disposed of improperly. Marie Curie
herself died of probable radiation related illness in ...France.

And I guess, if it was contaminated, it would have been disposed properly.
Many an accident started out with this premise.

That said, your scope is certainly quite safe.

--T

Plus, the CEA does a lot of theoretical physics research and that 7L5 most probably spent its live in a lab far away from any radioactive material.
In fact, I already have 500 and 5000 series modules that I got from ebay, which were originally property of PG&E nuclear services.
All my Tektronix equipment is used and even non nuclear industries may manipulate dangerous material (chemicals).

Have some you worked or are working, in fields where dangerous material (chemical, radioactive) are possibly manipulated in contact with test equipments?
In fact, how do calibration labs make sure that instruments they have to work on, are not contaminated with potentially dangerous material?


Best regards,



Greg Muir
 

It’s interesting to read of your concern. This brought to mind an experience that I had many years ago and a subsequent discovery some time after that.

While living in Colorado I would occasionally bid on surplus government owned test equipment. One such opportunity arose when a Tek 547 scope came up at the Rocky Flats nuclear plant – a center that fabricated the plutonium triggers for nuclear bombs.

I didn’t have a chance to inspect the unit that was for sale (alone it was a real act to pass security screening to casually gain access to the plant anyway) but went ahead placed a bid on it and ended up winning it. I then had to gain access to the plant to pick it up. When I saw the unit I was surprised to find that it was saturated with black soot apparently from a fire. The scope was otherwise in very good condition for its age and I thought that it would probably be a good asset after a thorough cleaning. But at that point I didn’t have the time to invest in a big project so packed it away in a container and put it in storage for another time.

About two years had passed when a news report came out that there had been a fire in one of the plants plutonium processing buildings that occurred a few years prior in the exhaust duct work that drew all of the plutonium dust from the machining processes out of the glove boxes and contamination rooms. The fire then apparently spread to the actual working spaces in the building contaminating everything at which time the it was sealed off until decontamination could be carried out. This then set my mind in motion about the scope I had obtained since the purchase somewhat coincided with the year of the fire.

I really didn’t worry about the unit at that point since it was safely sealed in a container and tucked away in storage at another location. And to this day I haven’t had a chance to open that container to check to see if that scope may have been a victim of that fire. Someday I will probably grab my radiation detector and check it out to see if my suspicions are correct. If so I will have to make a serious decision as to proper disposal of it through the correct channels.

Although others may say that items that may be subject to threatening environments would be immune from such issues, there is little truth to the phrase “it can’t happen.” I once worked for an engineering manager who used that phrase occasionally. When me and others around me witnessed malfunctioning equipment that exhibited a “can’t happen” intermittent failure mode, we would report it to him and receive that comment. When I finally left the company, in my resignation letter I told him that I enjoyed working with him on all of the equipment problems that “couldn’t happen.”

Greg

Chuck Harris
 

It is unlikely that anything coming from the military,
or nuclear industry would have any radioactive contamination.

The worst of the worst was the equipment used in the tunnels
dug for the underground H-Bomb testing. But they were usually
destroyed by the blast. If they were recovered for reuse, they
were fully cleaned, as they did not want the technicians to be
exposed needlessly.

Most of the instrumentation, that is meant to survive being
blown up, is far, far away on the other end of coax, or fiber
optic transmission lines.

I am far more worried about medical computers and instrumentation
that is salvaged from hospitals and research institutions. Much
of it has biological contamination hidden in nooks and crannies
that are unreachable to sanitation efforts, but become exposed
when repairs require disassembly.

Imagine what a "COW" (Computer On Wheels), that has been rolled
from operating theaters into the hospital halls into rooms, trauma
units, and back again.... has been exposed to. Suppose you
are called upon to remove the wheels... and completely disassemble
the unit for its batteries, inverters, PC, keyboard, mouse, and
LCD monitor... and scrap aluminum...

Now imagine that the monitors and keyboard from that COW are your
brand new, refurbished, PC you bought on ebay...

Ummm mmm Finger licking good!

-Chuck Harris

Ke-Fong Lin wrote:

Hi everyone,

With all your messages, I'm quite reassured that it is almost certain that my 7L5 has no contamination issue.
At least, if things were done properly. I always have the feeling that the US is more rigorous than France (a "latin" country after all) sometimes.

Regarding the CEA, they work on both theoretical and practical aspect of nuclear energy, including military "applications".
@satbeginner, I've taken a quick look at their website for Fontenay au Rose. In the past, they've done some R&D work on spent fuel reprocessing here.
And it was "hot", with actual radioactive material manipulated. And that's much less than 10km away from Paris and my home actually!
So it's no surprise some places were off limit, they probably have industrial and perhaps military secrets to protect.

Best regards,



Dave Seiter
 

Agreed, much more likely.
There's a Python-esque skit in there somewhere...
-Dave

On Tuesday, May 7, 2019, 5:56:20 AM PDT, Chuck Harris <cfharris@...> wrote:

It is unlikely that anything coming from the military,
or nuclear industry would have any radioactive contamination.

The worst of the worst was the equipment used in the tunnels
dug for the underground H-Bomb testing.  But they were usually
destroyed by the blast.  If they were recovered for reuse, they
were fully cleaned, as they did not want the technicians to be
exposed needlessly.

Most of the instrumentation, that is meant to survive being
blown up, is far, far away on the other end of coax, or fiber
optic transmission lines.

I am far more worried about medical computers and instrumentation
that is salvaged from hospitals and research institutions.  Much
of it has biological contamination hidden in nooks and crannies
that are unreachable to sanitation efforts, but become exposed
when repairs require disassembly.

Imagine what a "COW" (Computer On Wheels), that has been rolled
from operating theaters into the hospital halls into rooms, trauma
units, and back again.... has been exposed to.  Suppose you
are called upon to remove the wheels... and completely disassemble
the unit for its batteries, inverters, PC, keyboard, mouse, and
LCD monitor... and scrap aluminum...

Now imagine that the monitors and keyboard from that COW are your
brand new, refurbished, PC you bought on ebay...

Ummm mmm Finger licking good!

-Chuck Harris

Ke-Fong Lin wrote:
Hi everyone,

With all your messages, I'm quite reassured that it is almost certain that my 7L5 has no contamination issue.
At least, if things were done properly. I always have the feeling that the US is more rigorous than France (a "latin" country after all) sometimes.

Regarding the CEA, they work on both theoretical and practical aspect of nuclear energy, including military "applications".
@satbeginner, I've taken a quick look at their website for Fontenay au Rose. In the past, they've done some R&D work on spent fuel reprocessing here.
And it was "hot", with actual radioactive material manipulated. And that's much less than 10km away from Paris and my home actually!
So it's no surprise some places were off limit, they probably have industrial and perhaps military secrets to protect.

Best regards,



Jim Ford
 

Hi, Chuck. Did I miss something?  Wouldn't fusion hydrogen bombs produce low atomic mass products like helium that would be much less likely to split and give off dangerous radiation than fission bombs with their uranium, plutonium, and other nasties?Or do they use a fission bomb to set off the fusion bomb?Or do they get tritium or some other radioactive byproducts?I'm certainly no expert on nuclear physics,  but I have been exposed to the subject (pun intended!)Thanks. Jim Ford Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

-------- Original message --------From: Chuck Harris <cfharris@...> Date: 5/7/19 5:56 AM (GMT-08:00) To: TekScopes@groups.io Subject: Re: [TekScopes] Tektronix equipment from nuclear industry, any reason to be afraid? It is unlikely that anything coming from the military,or nuclear industry would have any radioactive contamination.The worst of the worst was the equipment used in the tunnelsdug for the underground H-Bomb testing.  But they were usuallydestroyed by the blast.  If they were recovered for reuse, theywere fully cleaned, as they did not want the technicians to beexposed needlessly.Most of the instrumentation, that is meant to survive beingblown up, is far, far away on the other end of coax, or fiberoptic transmission lines.I am far more worried about medical computers and instrumentationthat is salvaged from hospitals and research institutions.  Muchof it has biological contamination hidden in nooks and cranniesthat are unreachable to sanitation efforts, but become exposedwhen repairs require disassembly.Imagine what a "COW" (Computer On Wheels), that has been rolledfrom operating theaters into the hospital halls into rooms, traumaunits, and back again.... has been exposed to.  Suppose youare called upon to remove the wheels... and completely disassemblethe unit for its batteries, inverters, PC, keyboard, mouse, andLCD monitor... and scrap aluminum...Now imagine that the monitors and keyboard from that COW are yourbrand new, refurbished, PC you bought on ebay...Ummm mmm Finger licking good!-Chuck HarrisKe-Fong Lin wrote:> Hi everyone,> > With all your messages, I'm quite reassured that it is almost certain that my 7L5 has no contamination issue. > At least, if things were done properly. I always have the feeling that the US is more rigorous than France (a "latin" country after all) sometimes.> > Regarding the CEA, they work on both theoretical and practical aspect of nuclear energy, including military "applications".> @satbeginner, I've taken a quick look at their website for Fontenay au Rose. In the past, they've done some R&D work on spent fuel reprocessing here.> And it was "hot", with actual radioactive material manipulated. And that's much less than 10km away from Paris and my home actually!> So it's no surprise some places were off limit, they probably have industrial and perhaps military secrets to protect.> > Best regards,> > > >

nonIonizing EMF
 

On Tue, May 7, 2019 at 02:06 PM, Jim Ford wrote:


Or do they use a fission bomb to set off the fusion bomb?
Yes, there is an interesting write-up here regarding: https://www.quora.com/Do-you-think-Fusion-Power-Plants-are-a-reality-in-our-lifetime

Basically, to produce the X-Ray 20MJ plus under 3ns pulse to trigger the fusion reaction... nuclear fission bomb blasts were used and Tektronix sold a lot of equipment for those tests also if I understand correctly..


On Tue, May 7, 2019 at 08:56 AM, Chuck Harris wrote:


I am far more worried about medical computers and instrumentation
that is salvaged from hospitals and research institutions
Good call on those medical devices since I've read that in Latin America there are significant issues with MIA equipment and I've read the change control is as bad in the U.S. even at Hospital. Seems the professional degree'd have issues with oversight and regulation from my experience. I know from experience in the Medical Drug and Device manufacturing operations and labs... we were very strictly regulated and the ops weren't even radioactive related. I observed from the pharmacy and health care practice on down the enforcement and oversight wasn't so good in relation to manufacturing operations meeting CFR. Our test equipment all had to go through thorough and strict change control procedures that I even advanced to assure even better quality by expanding to require design qualification to decommissioning explicit formalities.

mark audacity romberg
 

In thermonuclear weapons, fusion energy is mostly used to initiate further fission in an unenriched or low-enriched uranium tamper. Most thermonuclear weapons fielded by the US produced 70% or more of their total yield from fission. There are many designs that allow for both a “dirty“ (uranium tamper) or “clean“ (lead tamper) version, but the clean versions were almost never built for the stockpile because the dirty version has higher yield.

A pure-fusion bomb would in fact have (relatively) very little in the way of harmful radionuclide emission, other than fallout (which is mostly irradiated dirt).

—mark, KF5YDR

Morris Odell
 

I have a few items that were used in the nuclear industry including a Tek 519 and a couple of AAEC labeled Tek timebases for the 555 and I also have a radiation detector so can confirm that they are not "hot" at all. Old luminous meters from WW2 and cold war gear can be quite radioactive though, even after 70-80 years, long after they have ceased to glow in the dark. Having worked in hospitals and having some knowledge of decontamination procedures I would share the concern about COWs or any old medical stuff for that matter. You need to be very careful, particularly if you notice any unusual stains. You never know (or want to know) what they might be.

Regarding effects of nukes, I understand that pure fusion does not produce radioactive fission products per se but the triggering fission devices will certainly do that. Fusion does produce fast neutrons though, which can cause damage by transmutation. The best thing is to keep well away from such reactions :-)

Morris

Michael A. Terrell
 

I served at Ft. Greely in the early '70s. Just a couple years after the
damaged nuclear power plant was shut down for the last time. It had no
cooling tower, the used, radioactive cooling water was pumped back into the
ground less than 500 feet from the wells that supplied drinking water to
the base. Radioactive steam was sent to the laundry and other areas for
heating, but this wasn't disclosed to us at the time. The test areas away
from the main base wee contaminated with biological and chemical weapons
that were being developed. Some areas are still so contaminated that
firefighters won't respond. They used up the reactor cores in about half
the rated lifetime, which suggests they were using it to produce
radioactive material for bombs. The are just now working on plans to clean
up the reactor site which was directly across the street from my barracks.
There are reports of higher than normal cases of Thyroid cancer among
people who lived and worked there.

The irony is that base was where I first repaired some Tektronix 529RM
waveform monitors.

On Wed, May 8, 2019 at 2:39 AM Morris Odell <vilgotch1@...> wrote:

I have a few items that were used in the nuclear industry including a Tek
519 and a couple of AAEC labeled Tek timebases for the 555 and I also have
a radiation detector so can confirm that they are not "hot" at all. Old
luminous meters from WW2 and cold war gear can be quite radioactive though,
even after 70-80 years, long after they have ceased to glow in the dark.
Having worked in hospitals and having some knowledge of decontamination
procedures I would share the concern about COWs or any old medical stuff
for that matter. You need to be very careful, particularly if you notice
any unusual stains. You never know (or want to know) what they might be.

Regarding effects of nukes, I understand that pure fusion does not produce
radioactive fission products per se but the triggering fission devices will
certainly do that. Fusion does produce fast neutrons though, which can
cause damage by transmutation. The best thing is to keep well away from
such reactions :-)

Morris



Ke-Fong Lin
 

Hi again guys,

So I took the opportunity to buy a geiger counter, a made in germany "gamma scout".
It's not cheap (375 euros sales tax included) but hopefully I'm no longer a broke student.
It is capable of alpha, beta, and gamma detection, whereas most counters are beta & gamma only.

I've checked my tektronix gear, in particular the ones from PSE&G Nuclear Department and the french CEA nuclear research.
Of course, the readings are perfectly fine, and shows only background radiation (0.12-0.14 uSv/h going as low as 0.1 uSv/h in basement).

A lot of messages mentioned nuclear bomb testings but my worries were rather the general daily "routine" of test equipment use in a nuclear industry.
In particular, following the safety rules properly to avoid contamination during disposal of used equipment. Whereas in nuclear bomb testing, my guess is that everybody's very careful and focused.
And that applies to any industry in general, being chemicals or biological.

That was also a good opportunity for me to at last purchase a geiger counter.
Living in France and having experienced the aftermath of the Tchernobyl accident, I've always wanted to have one.
That especially as the french government at that time minimized (to say the least), what the fallout values were.


Best regards,