Marie Curie’s radioactive waste

15 May 2012

Marie Curie was an outstanding researcher and an adventuress of the atom. The President of the Republic chose to pay tribute again to the one who received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for having discovered radium.

A century after this discovery, dozens of areas are polluted by radium residues throughout France. The location of these sites, radiological control, and extraction of contaminated materials consume a lot of money and time and face a major liability: lack of storage sites for radioactive waste from the first generation.

The few grams of radium produced thanks to the discovery of Madame Curie have produced thousands of tons of hazardous radioactive waste for thousands of years.

Among these wastes, the historical ORUM (Radium Objects for Medical Use) with questionable or life threatening therapeutic qualities continue to pollute attics, cellars… and flea markets.

Lately, in cooperation with a customer of the Puces flea market near the Villeurbanne canal, and with the support from a consignment shop from Grenoble, Robin des Bois was able after a brief pursuit to locate a radium water fountain. It will be recovered in the immediate future by ANDRA (National Agency of Radioactive Waste) and temporarily sheltered from human contact or attempts to dismantle and recycle metals.

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