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The two naturally occurring radioactive ores are Uranium ore and Thorium ore. Other radioactive elements (for example Radium) are found as small impurities in Uranium and Thorium ores. Generally speaking, Uranium ores are more radioactive than Thorium ores. An interesting fact is that 98% of the radiation emitted from some Uranium ores is actually coming from the tiny (less than 1%) Radium impurity in the ore, not from the Uranium not as you would expect.
This is why Uranium ore is much more radioactive than pure Uranium metal.
In this section you will find Uranium ore, Thorium ore, and we have also included our Uranium metal products from our Chemicals & Metals section. The availability of our radioactive ores varies with the season. In the Winter months very little ore is available as the mines are frozen and not accessible by our prospectors. Spring & Summer months we tend to have a much larger variety of ores and you will see many more products listed here than other times of the year.
Ore Sample Info
Our radioactive ores are from a variety of sites throughout the world. Most of the domestic samples are mined by our own prospectors. All ore samples are of typical 'useful size' which is generally 1.5 to 3.5", with most samples being about 2.5" across. If a sample is unusually large or unusually small, it is noted in the text description for that sample. An exception to this are the samples listed as Cloud Chamber Sources. Cloud Chambers require sources that are as small as possible with a high radiation intensity. This is necessary as they are intended to operate in the limited space of a Cloud Chamber device.
Uranium Ore samples may contain primary and secondary Uranium ores including: Carnotite (bright yellow), Uraninite (black crystal), Pitchblende (jet black), Uranophane (canary yellow), Gummite (rust brown), Tyuyamunite (pale green), Schroeckingerite (greenish-yellow), and other minor ores.
How Ore is Measured
The radiation measurements stated on all of our radioactive items is guaranteed to be accurate. All samples are measured with a modern, calibrated Geiger Counter as well as a calibrated Stabilized Assay Meter. We measure the total Beta and Gamma radiation emissions from each sample in CPM (Counts Per Minute) using a standard 'Hot Dog' probe (such as a Ludlum 44-6). Geiger Counter measurements taken with Pancake or End Window probes will produce falsely high readings and are deceptive to the customer. The same is true if readings are taken with a Scintillator or Scintillation probe. The radiation emission number stated with each sample is the combined Beta and Gamma emissions, taken from the area on the sample that produces the highest reading. We do not measure or include the Alpha radiation emissions as that too produces falsely high readings.
Ore Uses & Applications
Radioactive ores have a variety of uses. Lower radiation level ores are ideal for testing Geiger Counters and similar types of radiation detection equipment. Higher level ores are intended for laboratory experimentation or for radiological training purposes. For example, ore samples are hidden in a large area - then the samples have to be located as quickly as possible with radiation detection equipment. For just this purpose, we supply radioactive ore to Police and Fire Departments, as well as Homeland Security. Training using radioactive samples allows the user to become familiar with their radiation detection equipment and learn the most efficient method to zero in on a hidden radioactive source. Schools and Universities use ore samples to show how the desired radioactive material is chemically extracted from various raw ores. Another use is for Cloud Chambers. Cloud Chambers are devices that make the radiation produced by radioactive materials visible to the eye, as small streaks of cloud-like vapor. They usually require higher radiation level samples, but need to be physically small to fit in the limited area available in a Cloud Chamber. Mineral collectors find all Uranium ore varieties and radiation levels useful for their collections.
Uranium Metal Info
Our Uranium Metal is primarily isotope U238 (actually 99.7% U238, 0.3% U235). Uranium metal is over 68% denser than Lead, it is mildly radioactive and like Lead most heavy metals, can have toxic effects if ingested or with substantial and extended skin contact. As of 2015, it is legal to own up to 1.5 Kg of Uranium metal in the U.S.A. without a license. Uranium Metal is pyrophoric, that is, it can ignite on contact with air if it is in very fine chips or a powdered state. For this reason, you should not cut it as the filings/chips may ignite and produce dangerous & toxic radioactive smoke.