Science: Isotopes at Work

Radioactive isotopes are taking jobs in peacetime industry. Last week the California Research Corp. (a subsidiary of Standard Oil Co. of California) and the Atomic Energy Commission told now radioactive piston rings are being used to test the performance of lubricating oil.

Ordinary steel rings are put in the AEC's atomic pile at Oak Ridge and "cooked" for a month in neutrons. The process changes part of their normal iron into radioactive iron 59. Packed in 300-lb. lead cases, the "hot" rings are shipped to Richmond, Calif, and stored in a thick-walled closet (called "the cave") in the Research Corp.'s basement.


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