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Irradiated Dimes


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The dates on the coins, of course, are only the earliest possible, not the latest.

The public demonstration program only ran after the Mercury Dime was discontinued.


Here is what I have:

A 1942 Mercury that says:



Another that is from 1961 and reads


(Oak Ridge National Laboratory, but I don’t know what UCNC stands for: University of North Carolina was involved later, but so was a Naval Products lab.)


A third, a 1952 Roosevelt Dime reads



(I cannot post pictures. I seem to be at my 1meg limit, but already deleted my Gallery and can find only one other image of 23k in "Spaceflown Material.")

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It probably varied. I don't think there was any kind of timer. So according to how long it was left in would be the dose. Also sounds like according to when it was done, If the source had been reactivated recently it would have effected the amount given. But with a half life of 22 seconds for the silver and the longest was 12.7 hours for the copper. I don't think I'm going to grow an extra toe or get mutant powers. :shock: Here's a pretty good read on the irradiated dime as to how it was done.

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It seems that sometime in the 1960s, the museum and ORINS personnel decided to switch from the plutonium-beryllium neutron source to an americium-beryllium source. This required a trip to the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) in Washington to secure approval and make the necessary arrangements. While the meeting was underway, Glenn Seaborg happened to drop in to see what was going on. Seaborg was both the discoverer of plutonium and the Chairman of the AEC, so when he made a casual comment to the effect that he assumed that they were using a plutonium source, any thought of an americium-beryllium source was scrubbed and the Oak Ridge contingent went back home. The solution was to increase the activity of the plutonium.




Fascinating. Thanks for sharing the link.

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