Friday, June 12, 2020

Why do salvage divers want steel from W.W. II vessels?

Who would have thought that this could even be a possibility?  The real take home is that those scant radioactive elements and isotopes continue to linger for decades at least.

They must also get replaced by forestfires and agricultural fires as well so this is not going to disappear anytime soon.

Sooner or later we need to salvage a good store of that steel and put it into long term storage by storing it in some manner that  minimizes further deterioation.  It may be as simple as aneorobic water.depleted of oxygen which occurs often enough in nature.

What is down there is deterioratating rapidly and will eventually rust out.


Why do salvage divers want steel from W.W. II vessels?

Works at U.S. Army (2017–present)

It’s not so much they want steel from before WWII, but they want steel that was produced prior to the detonation of nuclear weapons.

Because of the many nuclear tests conducted around the end of WWII, the level of background radiation in the air has increased. This increase is tiny, has no harmful effects, and is essentially unnoticeable. However, it is noticeable if you’re trying to create instruments to measure radioactivity (e.g. Geiger counters, etc.)

Because of the process used to create steel, any steel produced after the widespread detonation of nuclear weapons contains trace amounts of radionuclides- this can be an issue if you’re trying to make very precise radiation detectors.

However, if you are able to get your hands on steel produced earlier, before radionuclides were as present in the air, you are able to create more precise instruments. This is where salvage divers come in.

Wrecks of ships manufactured before WWII have MASSIVE quantities of steel that aren’t contaminated with trace amounts of radionuclides (since the ships were produced before the widespread detonation of nuclear weapons). This means they are highly prized for their use in making precise radiation detectors.

EDIT: You can learn more about low-background steel here: Low-background steel - Wikipedia

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