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Old 08-05-2011, 02:07 AM
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Enough Americium to produce a critical mass is in the tens of kilograms of pure isotope (or less with a neutron reflector), while the amount in a smoke detector is in the microgram range and not pure, but an oxide. Assembling enough for a criticality is prohibitively expensive even for weapons, particularly since the presence of other isotopes inhibit the formation of a critical mass. The same is with radium from glowing clocks (which are considered human-safe, after all). It doesn't mention the origin of the uranium, but you can buy uranium ore on the internet (for calibration of detectors) - to make it into anything at all resembling fissile material costs millions and needs massive centrifuges and huge amounts of power.
This seems like someone understanding the theory but not the actual basis, particularly if he was attempting to use lead as a reflector (which is quite literally worse than useless as one).
This is the equivalent of you making a thread saying "Oh no, someone grew a piece of mould in their bathroom!, ban fungi now!!!!!!". Saying 'It didn't reach criticality but produced a dangerous amount of radiation" is like saying "he was killed by falling down the 25m hole, but didn't reach the Earth's core".
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