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Sandyhills Bay was 15 μrem / h ( 0.15 μSv / h ), rising typically to 50 μrem / h ( 0.5 μSv / h ) along the cliff face and 1 mrem / h ( 10 μSv / hr ) at waist height above the vein . In contact with the vein , the instrument went off scale at 5 mrem / h ( 50 μSv / hr ). The veins are typically about an inch ( 25 mm ) wide .
I carefully removed a set of samples from the vein , placed them in my rucksack and headed home , thanking the curators for this amazing find .
Back at Chapelcross , I re-packaged the samples into parcels and sent them off to visitor centres at nuclear sites around the country . My rucksack was significantly contaminated and had to be disposed of as Low Level Waste ( LLW ). My colleague was also not too happy with his desk ! A sample of pitchblende was on display for many years in the Sellafield Visitor Centre .
Some years later I went back to the vein with another RP person for more samples , and
Radiation Protection Today Winter 2021 only this year I explained to a geologist where to find the veins , which he did !
One of the key lessons learnt was that seemingly innocuous geological specimens can be significantly radioactive and need special precautions . When handling and displaying the pitchblende samples , adequate precautions were taken .
Outcrop of uraninite ( pitchblende )
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