Handling and Storage Guidelines for Radioactive Mineral Specimens                 


The radiation emitted by natural Uranium ores such as Autunite is usually very low.

Normally there is little or no risk associated with these specimens. 

Rock collectors and amateur scientists can safely collect and store 

radioactive mineral specimens if common sense guidelines are followed.

These guidelines are similar to how you would treat household cleansers or lawn care products.

You are encouraged to develop guidelines to fit your situation.

Remember, common sense goes a long way.

*   *   *   

     1. Store Radioactive specimens in an air tight container preferably in your garage, shed or basement.  
         Before examining your specimen, open the container outdoors to allow any radon accumulation to escape.


     2. Avoid direct contact with the specimen.  
         Most uranium ore, including Autunite, will produce some dust when  handled. This dust is usually very small but it is 

         still radioactive. If you touch your specimen be sure to thoroughly wash with soap and water. 

         Don't forget under the fingernails. 


     3. Never eat, drink, smoke or sleep near your specimen.  
          Autunite is a fragile mineral and can crumble easily. Wash your hands after examining or handling your specimen 

          to remove any small fragments that may exist.  


     4. Take special care if children may frequent the area.

          Children are naturally curious and may be fascinated by your specimens. Store your specimens in a locked case 

          or take security measures so children do not have access to them.


     5. Label all radioactive specimens as radioactive. 


     6. Do not carry radioactive materials in your pocket or wear radioactive  materials as jewelry. 


     7. Clean up any spills or broken particles with soap and water.  
         If not cleaned up, any dust from radioactive ore will be spread without you knowing and may end up being ingested.


     8. Check the area where you handle specimens for any chips or flakes. 
         An easy way to find particles of Autunite which may have flaked from the specimen is by the use of ultra violet light. 

         Simply turn down the room  lights and pass an ultra violet light over the area. Even the smallest  particles will stand 

         out and are easily cleaned up. It is also a good idea  to check your hands and clothing in a similar manner. 


     9. If you collect more than a few specimens of radioactive materials it is  
         recommended you invest in a shielded container for storage.  


          Should you decide to dispose of your specimen do so without endangering our environment. Some options would 

           be to sell or donate it to a local rock club, donate it to a university or other such organization or contact 

           me for other options. 


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