Uranium for sale on Amazon?

I am sure the scientific types out there will be extremely unimpressed by this. But for those of us who don’t work with radioactive materials, this is pretty unusual. A friend pointed me to the entry on amazon.com.

“Radioactive sample of uranium ore. Useful for testing Geiger Counters. License exempt. Uranium ore sample sizes vary. Shipped in labeled metal container as shown. We are always in compliance with Section 13 from part 40 of the NRC Nuclear Regulatory Commission rules and regulations and Postal Service regulations specified in 49 CFR 173.421 for activity limits of low level radioactive materials.”

So how low level is this stuff? Does one keep it in the garage? Will I start glowing if I kept this in the bedroom?

I assume this is the Amazon listing in question. It’s uranium ore (the stuff that comes out of the ground), not refined uranium. The picture of the sample is labeled 205 CPM, which is a fairly harmless amount of radiation, though I wouldn’t carry it around in my underwear.

ETA: From one of the customer reviews:


You think that’s bad? Look what else they’re selling there: http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Fiestaware-Red-Orange-Cup-Saucer-Fiesta-Ware_W0QQitemZ350325032835QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item5190ffc783

EDIT: Oops, Amazon, not eBay!

Wait–isn’t that where everyone carries their samples of radioactive material?

Man, I sure fell hard for that prank.

I’m not an expert on physics, but I believe that even metallic uranium (in natural isotopic proportions) isn’t all that radioactive, and it’s mostly an alpha emitter which even light clothing will stop. I wouldn’t keep it in my underwear either though, and since it’s a heavy metal and chemically toxic, I’d be very careful about it.

The customer reveiws are the best part of the page. Set aside a free hour for reading them.

Just the thing every wannabe superhero needs.

why not, I have a tritium fob on my keyring.

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I suspect that a particular member of Geococcyx has been shopping!

CMC fnord!

I think you are misreading the label. Doesn’t it say 1205/CPM? Does that make it any more dangerous?

ETA: I love that you can buy that one for $29.95 or a Used one for $2,499.00.

You can’t post stuff like this … I almost lost it at work.

But I think it comes from this, which is worth a look (depending on how you define ‘worth’):


If you put some of that uranium next to an ant hill, what will happen to THEM?

Wow. How bright is it? Does the room have to be near pitch dark to see its glow.

it isn’t overly bright in the normal sense, but when you are in a cave, and there is absolutely no light, the eyes adapt and it gets bright enough to walk around with as a light source =)

Heck, for the price it is worth it. How many other chances do you get to walk around with a radioactive source and not get into trouble =)

Did you see the radioactive marbles you can get?

The used one was for Pu-239.

I was glad I paid enough attention in physics to get the half life joke on the one review.

Actually the tritium key fobs are illegal in the US.

How are they selling them then? Its an American company. You’d think there would be some kind of crackdown with a site with such high visibility (I always see it linked to when people joke about buying uranium).

I found another at DealExtreme here. It looks small enough to be turned into a Green Lantern ring. :slight_smile:

I don’t know. Either nobody at the NRC knows about it or enforcing it isn’t a big priority. It’s silly, because tritium watches are fine, but key fobs are classified as “frivolous items” and cannot be licensed for production or sale.

I don’t know if this is a question for another thread or not. Do these really contain tritium? I was under the impression that this stuff is extremely rare. At the very least, you aren’t buying it at the neighborhood Wal Mart.

They do. Tritium isn’t rare or super expensive. It doesn’t take much even to light up something like an exit sign, and it’s relatively easy to produce (if you have a nuclear reactor handy.)

PS - http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/news/2009/09-011.html