A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Neth X
Date: 2017 Apr 3, 07:22 -0700
I collect instruments in the Netherlands and can confirm the story. It is valid for ALL instruments (and other items) containing Radium 226. It is ILLEGAL in Europe to have such an instrument as a private person. A museum can obtain a permit under very special restrictions.
Due to a single shipment from Canada (A8-A with pencil averager) I got an inspection of my collection and lost 11 objects in total. Just to help out others I will list the instruments taken from my collection (as well as bubble sextants that were clean in my collection). Radium 226: A8A (two specimens); Bendix AN5861-1 (two specimens, one with, one without averager), A7A, Keufel & Esser Aero sextant / theodolite, Astrocompass Mk II (two specimens), Hughes Mk IX (without averager), Ball recording sextant (night tube specifically, instrument is clean).
Left alone from the collection (clean): Hughes Mk IX A & Mk IX BM, Fairchild A10A, Link A12A, Smith Mk 1 & Mk 2, Kollsman MA2, C.Plath SOLD, Russian NMC3 & NAC1 (both developments from the SOLD) and all nautical / survey sextants.
I know rules are different in the US / Canada but even them you may need to question whether you want to be around these units in general and some (A8A, A7A) in particular. Registered radiation directly on the instrument was up to 30 μSv/hr for the types mentioned against a background radation of 50 nSv/hr. That is 6000x background radation... Even through the boxes my collection gave off a radation at 1 m distance of 450 nSv/hr, or about 9x background radation. And this will not readily diminish over time (half life of 1600 years). Statistically you increase your chances of cancer quite a bit by having these around. Mine are now all gone (without repercussions other than a loss of purchase price). Trying to get a museum to put (some) in their collection.
[Note from FER: this message was damaged, and the author's name and email were lost. If the author would please reply to this message, I will set it straight]