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 Post subject: Low background Steel
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:05 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:19 pm
Posts: 427
Location: Bowie, MD
I've recently been reading "Jutland, The Unfinished Battle" by Nicholas Jellicoe. In the past few days, it was announced that billionaire Paul Allan had discovered the wreck of the USS Lexington in the Pacific.

Here on RYPN there was discussion over the scrap value of #503 in Port Arthur.

How do these three things come to a nexus? In surfing around regarding the topic of ship wrecks, I came around this article about massive, commercial scrapping operations of WWII era wrecks in Asian waters:

The world's biggest grave robbery: Asia’s disappearing WWII shipwrecks (2017)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/ng-interactive/2017/nov/03/worlds-biggest-grave-robbery-asias-disappearing-ww2-shipwrecks

There are similar stories about the Jutland (and Scapa Flow) wrecks being worked commercially.

The upshot is there is a niche market for steel made before 1945; since the nuclear age, due to contamination with radionuclides because its production uses atmospheric air.

So perhaps a savvy scraper with the right connections would be able to get more value out of an easy - compared to a deep sea operation - to obtain steel from a pre-WWII locomotive.

Just something for those in this crowd to be aware of. More links regarding "Low Background Steel":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-background_steel
https://hackaday.com/2017/03/27/low-background-steel-so-hot-right-now/

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Low background Steel
PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2018 4:11 pm 

Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:29 am
Posts: 231
Not sure that the steel from that locomotive would be considered to be uncontaminated....Most of those wrecks in indonesian waters are pretty shallow water, but they are not exposed to atmosphere either....If I recall correctly, the salt water...or any water... tends to absorb the radiation, etc...
That said, a big issue with the various wrecks is the lack of respect that those people have for the dead... the indonesians and Chinese are hungry for steel of any sort, not just steel made before 1945... apparently, the scrap value there has made salvaging them worth it....


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 Post subject: Re: Low background Steel
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:01 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 14, 2004 7:52 am
Posts: 1485
Location: Strasburg, PA
I recall reading about that as well in The Grand Skuttle, about the German fleet at Scapa Flow. IIRC the attraction for salvaging those ships is that their pre-1945 steel has been under water. Old steel exposed to the air wasn't nearly so pure.

I believe a lot of the profit motive for salvaging sunken ships comes form all the copper and bronze they contain, not so much the steel. I recall seeing photos of capsized sunken ships with the propellers cut off, solid bronze and easy to get at, while the rest of the ship was left intact. Sort of like poachers cutting the tusks off of an elephant.

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 Post subject: Re: Low background Steel
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 9:53 am 

Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2006 5:19 pm
Posts: 427
Location: Bowie, MD
Apparently what they do now is use either divers or ROVs to place explosive charges on the ships. The resulting debris is then craned onto a barge where it is sorted and further cut up.

Perhaps there are experts on RYPN who can chime in; from my reading, the post nuclear age radionuclides (ie Cobalt 60) is integrated into modern steel during the iron refining and steel making process, not through environmental exposure. It would be interesting to more fully understand this. Just made me wonder if ol' number 97 is worth more than we think.

Bob


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 Post subject: Re: Low background Steel
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 11:15 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:26 am
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Location: Maine
U-Boats scuttle off Ireland after WW2 have been used in the same fashion, for exactly that same nuclear reason.

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 Post subject: Re: Low background Steel
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 12:37 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:07 am
Posts: 551
bbunge wrote:

---- snip --

The upshot is there is a niche market for steel made before 1945; since the nuclear age, due to contamination with radionuclides because its production uses atmospheric air.

S

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-background_steel
https://hackaday.com/2017/03/27/low-background-steel-so-hot-right-now/

Bob


Can you point us to a peer reviewed scientific article that substantiates this, rather the newspaper articles where the facts may not be correct.

Consider the number of rail related accident that say things like conductor could do nothing to stop the train, or articles that call an engine a passenger car.

Bob H


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 Post subject: Re: Low background Steel
PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:21 pm 

Joined: Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:26 am
Posts: 45
I would think that it would only take one post 1945 trip to the backshop to "contaminate" a locomotive with post 1945 steel.


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 Post subject: Re: Low background Steel
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:34 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 99
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Years ago a VA hospital made a point that they had obtained the armor from an incomplete USN Iowa Class battleship to shield their nuclear imaging room. The armor had been cast before the July 16, 1945 Trinity test.

Phil Mulligan


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 Post subject: Re: Low background Steel
PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:12 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2015 12:36 pm
Posts: 197
I had always heard that RR rails made before 1945 were in high demand because of this reason as well.

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