Science: Sources for Industry

Brookhaven National Laboratory announced this week that it has made some rather scary objects: radioactive sources as powerful as three or four pounds of radium.* They glow in the dark with an eerie blue light and are so dangerous that they must be kept under several feet of water or behind thick lead or concrete shields.

The sources are made by "cooking" cobalt or tantalum tubes (13½ in. long) in Brookhaven's nuclear reactor at Upton, N.Y. There the original metals turn into cobalt-60 and tantalum-182, both of which emit gamma rays with more than 1,000,000 electron volts of energy.

Brookhaven does not plan...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!