100% Abstract legal question - Is is legal to own Uranium?

#1
I've had a difficult day of looking through UK food safety law. Which made me realise actually how specific and nit-picky primary legislation actually is.
Earlier this evening I unwound in front of an episode of the Big Bang Theory. One of the geeks on this show tried to build a nuclear reactor in his "Mom" 's garage as a kid.

Legal question:
(And it *is* theoretical - I do not actually wish to build an reactor, much less an A-bomb)
Is it legal to own uranium for peaceful purposes in the UK??

If I buy an A-bomb from Dodgy Boris' Ex-Soviet Emporium, I'm breaking proliferation laws.
If I set off an A-bomb there's a 1998 Act that'll put me in prison.
If I try to build an A-bomb there's a 2001 Terrorism Act to stop this.
If I look at (or worse photocopy) actuall A-bomb plans then it's an Official Secrets breach.

I don't want to acquire / make / set-off a bomb!

If I use enough shielding that I wasn't going to harm myself or my neighbours, is it legal to own umpteen kilos of Uranium (Non-weapons grade). Under the above safety criteria, could I own a personal-sized Reactor for making electricity?

It's possible that I've overlooked something obvious, but since UKAEA lost it's monopoly and foreign-firms operate some of our civil electricity reactors, atomic power can exist in private hands.

With the legal ho-ha about building 10 new reactors in the UK soon, would one's biggest legal impediment be that your house doesn;t have planning permission to operate as a power-station?

Any thoughts?

(Apart from the fact that I'm an insomniac science-graduate with an over-active imagination)
 
#2
Well I assume there would be more red tape than you can shake a shitty stick at.
 
#3
Well I assume there would be more red tape than you can shake a shitty stick at.
I practice, there certainly would be in proving that I've got the necessary shielding, etc. It's why they have decade long public enquiries for every power-plant they build.
 
#4
Found! (I think!)

The Daddy is "Radioactive Substances Act 1993"
and it's backed up by
"Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010"

After looking up the difference between the minimum meat content of a "Meat and Veg pie" as opposed to a "Veg and meat pie" (it's 1% by the way), I don't have the wherewithal to traw through another Act tonight, but It's good to know where to look when I really want to see. Good-night all.
 
#5
Yes im not suprised. I expect the plans for the construction off said plants and locations ect would be under extensive scrutiny prior to ant actually being built.
 
#7
Most G10 watches are kept in Radioactive stowages, along with smoke detectors...
 
#9
Most G10 watches are kept in Radioactive stowages, along with smoke detectors...
Except for the ones on the chaps' wrists, eh!

Is that for protection from the watches themselves, or is it for good nuclear housekeeping?

I could imagine that if HM Grey War-Canoes use overpressure for CBNR collective protection, having all the radio-luminous watches & dials in one lead-lined bunker makes it easier to find if there's a hole somewhere letting fallout in.
 
#10
It appears that you are only allowed to build one if your name is something like Hahn, Handl, or HaHaHathefoolssaiditcouldnn'tbedonebutIhavethepower!!!

These Men Were Caught Building Homemade Nuclear Reactors

You may find it necessary to dig a big hole in your garden for your secret base and buy a fluffy white cat.
 
#11
smitthy_the_ferret said:
Originally Posted by northern-matelot
Most G10 watches are kept in Radioactive stowages, along with smoke detectors...

Except for the ones on the chaps' wrists, eh!

Is that for protection from the watches themselves, or is it for good nuclear housekeeping?

I could imagine that if HM Grey War-Canoes use overpressure for CBNR collective protection, having all the radio-luminous watches & dials in one lead-lined bunker makes it easier to find if there's a hole somewhere letting fallout in.
I should probably point out that the radioactive stowage is not a special type of stowage- just a stowage under lock and key that only the Stores Senior Rate has access to unless a stocktake is needed.
 
#13
Yup. I have a friend who has a set of red Fiestaware.
I knew a couple that used to collect Cobalt Blue pottery.

Used to know as in lost touch not dead and glowing in the dark used to know.
 
#14
No, it's illegal to hold anything that emits ionising radiation without relevant authority.

The only radioactive sources permitted on watches now are tritium and promethium and manufacturers must conform to the relevant ISO to ensure the emissions are not exceeded and the watch face is marked correctly. I believe these radionuclides only emit beta particles which cannot escape construction of the watch. These watches can be identified by a T or P on the face.

Some watches may be found with radioactive paint on the dials and hands. These are banned and it's illegal to hold one.
 
#16
No, it's illegal to hold anything that emits ionising radiation without relevant authority.

The only radioactive sources permitted on watches now are tritium and promethium and manufacturers must conform to the relevant ISO to ensure the emissions are not exceeded and the watch face is marked correctly. I believe these radionuclides only emit beta particles which cannot escape construction of the watch. These watches can be identified by a T or P on the face.

Some watches may be found with radioactive paint on the dials and hands. These are banned and it's illegal to hold one.
Is that what they call a retro-active law?

I can see that they might say "From this date forth, no manufacturer shall make, nor retailer sell, any Radio-luminescent device, unless it forms to ISO-Std 123-45678" as manufactuers and traders have a duty of due-diligence.

On the other hand it's a "bad law" (unpopular and unenforcable) if a bunch of old-dear are now criminalised by having an old 1930's alarm clock plopped on their bedside cabinet.
 
#17
Remember BT Trimphones? The dial was illuminated using radioactive tritium. Tritium is the "hydrogen" in hydrogen bombs. Get yourself a load of old trimphones off eBay and you could build your own weapon of mass destruction!
 
#18
Is that what they call a retro-active law?

I can see that they might say "From this date forth, no manufacturer shall make, nor retailer sell, any Radio-luminescent device, unless it forms to ISO-Std 123-45678" as manufactuers and traders have a duty of due-diligence.

On the other hand it's a "bad law" (unpopular and unenforcable) if a bunch of old-dear are now criminalised by having an old 1930's alarm clock plopped on their bedside cabinet.
so is drink driving law bad because at one time you could get blooted and drive?

how is anything a bad law if it ultimately protects someone?
 
#19
so is drink driving law bad because at one time you could get blooted and drive?

how is anything a bad law if it ultimately protects someone?
King Canute tried to legislate against the turning of tide - and it didn't help those cockle-pickers a few years ago, did it?
Baby politicians are shown how difficult the Dangerous Dogs Act is to enforce when they are first briefed, in the hope that future backbencher-bills are better worded.

Is the statute you've described one that applies to people selling and making commercially, or to existing private ownership as well?
(And yes, there is a split in law between domestic and commercial behaviour - consider the kitchen hygiene regs that apply in restaurants and the lassiez-faire lack of control over home kitchens. But it's why church fetes can't sell homemade jam tarts anymore.)

In a nutshell, if hooligans break into a granny-bungalow, and the investigating Dibble sees:
an old radio-luminous clock, and
a Trimphone that's got an old British-Standard No. on it but not the new ISO-format No,
while he's writing up the crime-number, does Doris have to get taken down the station as a Nuclear Traffickeer and H&S violator?

Some laws are retroactive, while others only go forwards.
Some offences are statutory, absolute offences (e.g. speeding, and I suppose owing a pedigree American Pitbull with pedigree-chit (as opposed to a mongrel dog that looks a bit pitbull-ish, in one man's opinion)).
Others are only offences "on indictment", and a lot of legal interpretation goes on if the CPS think you're a bad-egg.

Knowing the name of the reg you're talking about would allow me to see how tight the enforcement is and whether there are legitamate, lawful derogations.
(An example of a derogation is that dead farm animals must be incinerated, but pets can be buried in the garden. It gets awkward when farmer's kids have a pet sheep.)
 
#20
Look, I didn't make the statute, I just used to be one of those that would exploit and clear the scene once SF had 'dealt' with the human threat.

I've also spent enough time at Aldermaston with low radioactive sources to know how they need to be dealt with. So don't think that there is anyway some ridiculous pleb is going to find a loop hole in the law for holding something that could have a potential yield.

Quite plain and simple you'll end up dead.
 
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