Autunite Facts & 

Frequently Asked Questions                                               Dealer Links 
Is it legal to have radioactives? How much                              Links to suppliers of Radioactive Minerals, 
radiation is safe? Is Autunite safe?                                           Uv lights, Detector systems, Geiger Counter

How can I preserve my specimens?                                        repair, and much more. I have personally dealt
                                                                                              with these dealers with excellent results.
Historical Information          
Links to sites about Madam Curie, Early    
Uranium mining and  a site ran by the     
                                                                    Information links
United States and Japan which studies the                               Links to various laboratories, Particle 
after effects of Hiroshima & Nagasaki   and                            Accelerators, The Radiation Information
tells the history of the bombing.                                               Network, The CDV700 Club, and more.



        Radiation Safety                                                                Other Links of Interest

Facts, Safety guidelines and                                                                    Interesting sites to visit. 

information concerning radiation.









What causes a mineral to be Fluorescent when exposed to Uv light?

   Briefly, when an atom of a certain substance receives Uv light an electrons of the atom reacts to the energy by moving away from the nucleus. In doing so a gap is created in the electrons around the nucleus. To maintain balance within the atom another electron must give up some of it's energy and move in to occupy the empty orbit. It is this energy that the electron gives up that we see as visible light. Some minerals react to only long wave Uv, some to only short wave Uv and a few, such as Autunite will react to any type of Ultra Violet light.

   One of the best books describing Fluorescence, "The Story of Fluorescence", is produced by "RayTech Industries" who manufactures some of the best Ultra Violet lamps on the market. This $3.00 book describes with good detail the cause of fluorescence, the application & uses of fluorescence and 22 pages of fluorescent mineral identifications. 



Is Autunite dangerous?

   Autunite is a naturally occurring Uranium and is radioactive. The amount of radiation produced by a specimen will vary depending on how much actual Autunite is in/on a specimen. Usually Autunite will be found as crystals deposited on the exterior of a matrix rock which is usually Granite. The Autunite will be a very small amount compared to mass of the entire specimen. 

   Being radioactive it is wise to treat your specimen with the same respect you  would anything that has the potential to cause harm. By practicing the same precautions you would normally use  with paint or household chemicals you should have no trouble.  Please read our Autunite Safety Guidelines.

There is a lot of misleading information on the internet about Autunite and it's radioactivity.

 For the truth about radiation from Autunite please read what the Health Physics Society says about the safety of our Autunite.



Will Autunite change over time?

   Yes, Autunite contains water in it's chemistry and depending on humidity, temperature and time, some of this water will evaporate changing the  Autunite to Meta-Autunite. This process is very slow and takes many years. The fluorescent, radiation and visual properties are unchanged by this conversion. A few specimens will eventually loose enough water that they begin to crumble while other specimens will remain solid. 


There are two areas that this change pertains to:

1. Chemically the process is simple. The Autunite looses water and is converted to Meta-Autunite. Slowly introducing water to the Meta-Autunite will convert it back to the chemistry of Autunite. The conversion process is reversible, but keep reading.


2. When Autunite dehydrates and becomes meta-Autunite there may be shrinkage within the crystals. This causes  microscopic cracks in the individual crystals. These microscopic cracks can lead to the crystals chipping or splitting depending on their environment. Introducing water will re-establish the chemical formula but will not heal these microscopic cracks. In fact, if water is introduced to a very dry specimen the absorption of that water will cause the crystals to swell up and separate from the other crystals and the matrix. This will cause a specimen to crumble. 


The best way to preserve your specimen is through proper storage. Storage is best in a constant cool temperature. Avoid direct sun light. If the specimen is dry keep it that way. If the specimen is wet keep it that way. It is not recommended to re-hydrate a dry specimen. Store all radioactive specimens in a container so that any particles that chip off will be contained.


Two very good sources of information about Autunite/Meta-Autunite, and reversing the process can be found at these sites Mineral Galleries and Uranium Minerals. 


      Another method to preserve a specimen is to coat it with a clear, no luster, acrylic spray. This does not effect the looks of the specimen but will effect the Alpha radiation and the reaction Short Wave Uv.

   Just remember, the process of going from Autunite to Meta-Autunite simply involves the loss of water. Evaporation can be slowed, and even stopped, by controlling temperature, humidity and free contact with air.




Will Autunite dissolve in water.

Yes, but it takes hundreds to thousands of years depending on the properties of the water. Water with a high acidity will dissolve Autunite much faster than pure water.



Autunite is used to make nuclear fuel/bombs, will Autunite heat up or explode.

No, The radiation in natural Uranium/Autunite is very low. To be able to be reactor material or bomb 

material takes super refining using very expensive equipment and tons of Uranium/Autunite ore.



Will items close to my specimen become radioactive?

No. The radiation from the specimen will not cause any other substance to become radioactive. 

The same as your microwave oven only heats your food and doesn't cause your food  to be a microwave producer.



What are the properties of our Autunite?

Autunite has the chemical formula "Ca(UO2)2(PO4)2-10H2O" and is known as Hydrated Calcium Uranyl Phosphate.

Our Autunite produces 35% Alpha, 62% Beta and 3% Gamma radiation.

XRD shows it contains PB-214, PB-211, BI-214, BI-211, BI-206, RN-219, RA-223, TH-227, TH-231, TH-234, U-235, U-238, TL-208, NP-237 and other minor elements.



What are the Legal issues concerning the possession of Autunite?

All radioactive material is governed by Federal Law. Natural Uranium is exempt from the Federal restrictions. You may posses it, transfer it to other people and sell it PROVIDED you do not attempt to process it. The law governing possession of Uranium ore can be found at  10 CFR 40.13 (b)

There are other laws that govern the transportation of radioactive material including Uranium. These laws vary from one shipping company to another. The United States Post Office rules may be found in their Publication 52. 


If you have any other questions about Autunite or radiation just email me at .

(If I can't answer your question I probably know where you can get the answer)



Historical Information

Madam Curie 


Early Uranium Mining In The United States


Radiation Effects on Hiroshima & Nagasaki




Informational links


                                     A new and perhaps the very best data base of radioactive minerals.

                                     Hundreds of listings showing properties, pictures and more.

                                     I have personally known Paul for a few years and can attest to

                                     his dedication and attention to detail and fact.


 MINDAT.ORG   One of the most complete mineral databases there is! Has data about 

                                    every mineral, areas to collect and much more!


The Mineral Gallery

                                Another very fine mineral information source. Thousands of listings with

                                 pictures, properties and much more!


Mineralogy Database at

                                  A very complete listing of minerals, their properties,

                                 pictures and even pronunciation of their names! 



Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory The latest in radiation research.


Jefferson Laboratory Very useful information about Atoms & Radiation, Radiation vs.

                                 Contamination, Units of measure & Types of Ionizing radiation


Fermi National Accelerator Lab Very interesting site with links to other accelerators.


The CDV700 Club A forum for like minded people who enjoy collecting, fixing and using 

                               Geiger counters and other radiation equipment. A great source for 

                                information, contacts and supplies.


The Radiation Information Network  Hundreds of links and very useful information


Office of Radiation, Chemical & Biological Safety, Michigan State University 

                             An excellent source of radiation information, safety, rules, regulations 

                             and much more.

University of California, Radiation Awareness Training

                             A great source of basic radiation facts and definitions.

University of California, Radiation Safety Fundamentals Workbook (1.6 Mb)

                              More than safety. Has explanations about types of radiation, 

                                Biological effects, dose rates, Sources of radiation and much more.





Radiation Safety

University of California at Santa Cruze 

        General Index Radiation Safety

        Radiation Safety Manual (437Kb)

        Radiation Awareness Training (192Kb)

        University of California, Radiation Safety Fundamentals Workbook (1.6 Mb)








           This site is by Allyn Goshy who is one of the best Geiger Counter repair specialists. Not only does he repair 

              and restore Geiger counters but he can make necessary modifications that eliminate those large and very 

              expensive batteries found on older counters so you can simply use a couple "D" cells.

              Lot's of great information also.


Atomic Rocks:

        This is a great source of information about the safe handling, storage and regulations 

        concerning radioactive minerals.    



Amethyst Galleries, Inc.  

        A very well built site which deals in  Autunite and many more minerals.  Lots of good

        information and great specimens. Dealer of radioactive minerals.



 Fluorescent MineralSociety:    


        A great organization and source of information, contacts and dealers.  

         Much information about Uv lighting.       


Arizona Minerals

      Supplier of fine mineral specimens and supplies including those hard to find "Perky Boxes".



Thomas S. Warren:    

        For all your professional Ultra Violet needs. Long wave, Short wave & Portable.



RayTec Industries

        They manufacture Ultra Violet lamps and fluorescent mineral equipment. They sell a book "The Story Of Fluorescence" for about $3.00 which tells just about all you will ever need to know about why certain things are fluorescent, how it happens and includes over 30 pages of most fluorescent minerals and how to identify them



 Black Cat Systems:                            

        Home of the GM-10 Radiation Detector, software and very interesting information.



Mineralogical Research Co. 

        A great source for minerals, meteorites, books and much more




           Walsh Brothers
Clocks Watches and Jewellery

        English jewelry shop with a wide range and international delivery   




The CDV700 Club 

        The CDV 700 Club is a forum for like minded individuals that enjoy collecting,

     .   fixing up, and using Geiger counters and other radiation monitoring equipment. A

         great source of  information, dealers and suppliers!




           A nicely done store and an honest man to deal with. 

           Look around at some very nice and interesting specimens.








  Arclights Page   

        Great pictures and information from someone who enjoys exploring caves and mines. 

          Has some good links to other sites.    


  RealTime Radiological  

        Large Land Area Radiological Surveys, GPS Mapping, Identification Services.




        Combining a dictionary, an encyclopedia and a web directory