Post by James Nicoll
It used to be picric acid--stable in liquid form, unstable in solid--was a stock item for high
school chem courses. At some point the Ministry decided this was unsafe and told chem teachers
to stop using it. A number of them, being sensible prudent types, did not dispose of their
picric acid. Instead, they just put it at the back of the supply closet in case the Ministry
changed its mind. The unintended side effect was a number of high schools acquired an unrequested
surplus of unstable explosives waiting to be jostled by someone who had no idea what was at
the back of the supply closet.
I used to work for a large manufacturing company. The founder turned over
managing the business to a CEO and himself ran R&D for decades. When he
became ill, his lab was basically shuttered and left untouched for another
several years, until his death.
When they finally went in to clear it out, they found a big jar in the back
containing several pounds of uranium hexafluoride.
The scary side of our Energy Department showed up with a big, very heavy
container to haul it away in.
I never heard that anyone figured out what Doc was doing with all that UF6.
The jar had apparently not been opened for years even before he got sick.
Doc worked on the Manhattan project, on the uranium-enrichment project, but
as far as anyone could figure out, that had nothing to do with his
commercial research. Maybe a souvenir?
Carl Fink ***@finknetwork.com
If you want to make a point, somebody will take the point and stab you with it.