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    A-7 radium
    From: Gary LaPook
    Date: 2014 Mar 21, 16:02 -0700
    I was apparently successful in removing all the radium from my A-7 since I passed eight times through airports, LAX twice, Dulles twice, Dublin twice and Charles De Gaulle twice , without setting off any alarms. I took sights crossing the Atlantic both ways and will write those up in another post.

    gl

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I used acetone. I sat at my picnic table with the breeze to my back. I wore a  resperator mask and rubber gloves. I bought a small can at the hardwear store, like a small paint can, that I put the used cotton swabs in. Dipped the swabs in a juice glass full of acetone and swabbed the paint for a bit and then scraped it off with the end of a screwdriver and deposited the paint into the can. I used a sewing needle to get into the small crevices. I checked and found still some radioactivity so I used an electric toothbrush with some toothpaste to finish the job in the threads and crannies, Then I put everything into the can and hammered the lid on. I couldn't measure any more radioactivity and I had no problem at the airport. I was probably overly careful but why not be? I went through many cotton swabs and many changes of disposable rubber gloves.

    I'm in Belfast now and get a tour tomorrow of the Titanic shipyard and the Bushmills distillery. Paris next week.

    gl





     
     
    Bill,  I am going to Ireland on Monday and I want to bring my A-7 octant with me. The last time I carried it on an international flight I had a run-in with the security people due to the radium in it setting off the radiation alarms. We discussed this back in 2010.

    I followed your instructions and the ring came out easily but there remains a layer of the paint adhering to the bottom of the bubble chamber so that doesn't solve the problem. I have two ways to go from here, 1) put the ring back in to make sure that the paint does not come off the bottom of the bubble chamber and contaminate the rest of the octant and possibly be inhaled while I use it. Or 2) try to remove the remaining paint. I favor the second method but I will have to find some safe way to remove that paint without spreading radium all around my house. I would put water on it to keep it from escaping as dust and then scrape it off. Or I might use some type of solvent to dissolve the paint and keep the radium from getting loose but I am afraid that the solvent might damage the seal on the bottom surface of the bubble chamber. Any suggestions? 

    Btw, I was careful, I wore rubber gloves and a respirator and disposed of them sealed in double plastic bags.


    G’day, Gary.
     
    According to the original manual, the glasses were sealed using shellac, which as you probably know is soluble in alcohol, though watch parts assembled with it usually survive brief immersion. I use acetone to remove the radium paint and dispose of it by burial, but suppose that interment at sea would be better.
     
    Kind regards
     
    Bill
     


    Since I wanted to avoid this problem, I contacted Ken Gebhart at Celestaire and he recommended that I just remove the ring that is painted with the radium paint and that is installed below the bubble chamber. I followed his instructions and the ring came out easily but there remains a layer of the paint adhering to the bottom of the bubble chamber so that doesn't solve the problem. I have two ways to go from here, 1) put the ring back in to make sure that the paint does not come off the bottom of the bubble chamber and contaminate the rest of the octant and possibly be inhaled while I use it, or 2) try to remove the remaining paint. I favor the second method but I will have to find some safe way to remove that paint without spreading radium all around my house. I could put water on it to keep it from escaping as dust and then scrape it off, or I might use some type of solvent to dissolve the paint and keep the radium from getting loose but I am afraid that the solvent might damage the seal on the bottom surface of the bubble chamber. Any suggestions? The first attached photo shows the ring and the second shows the paint still adhering to the bottom of the bubble chamber.

    Btw, I was careful, I wore rubber gloves and a respirator and disposed of them sealed in double plastic bags.

    gl

    http://fer3.com/arc/m2.aspx/Radium-illumination-LaPook-sep-2010-g13736





       
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