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Re: [Phys-l] Minigenerator nuclear rate meter

At 09:42 AM 6/1/2007, Charles Crook, you wrote:


Amidst the long-unused equipment in our stock room, we have a Union
Carbide Minigenerator Nuclear Rate Meter. This is a small,
battery-operated unit in a yellow and blue case that detects decays
and reports them both with clicks on the internal speaker and in
Counts per Minute on an analog meter.

I am preparing to lead a group of Boy Scouts through their Nuclear
Science merit badge and thought that this little meter would be much
better suited to the task than our fancier (and more valuable) Geiger
counters, but unfortunately, the manual for this little meter is no
longer to be found.

The battery is no longer in the meter (fortunately, since it would
surely have leaked and probably ruined the meter). The battery is
accessible by removing the lower back cover. It appears to have been
about the diameter of a AA battery, but longer -- about 3 inches (7.8
cm) long.

Do any of you know anything about these meters? At the very least, I
would like to know the specifications of the original battery, so I
can look for a replacement. Even better, if any of you happen to
have a manual and could send or fax a photocopy, that would be even

I hooked up a variable DC power supply, put a source near the
detector, and gradually increased the voltage; the meter started
detecting decays at about 6-7 volts. Thus, if all else fails, I
could probably solder in a 9 volt battery clip so as to run the meter
on a "modern" and more easily available battery.

Thanks in advance for any info you can provide.
Charles Crook

"Obtaining isotopes with short half-lives can be readily done with the
proper equipment.
Union Carbide MINIGENERATOR systems can be used to separate
pure samples of radioisotope daughter from mother products.
For instance, the Cesium 137 unit can be used to "milk" Barium 137m
from a "cow." Tin 113 can be used to derive Indium 113m.T
hese radioisotope generators use a chemical combination of
HCL and NaCl (called the eluant) to separate the daughter
products from the mother material."

I took this from an....
Addendum to
Hands-On Physics Activities with Real-Life Applications
by James Cunningham & Norman Herr
The Center for Applied Research in Education
by Carl J. Wenning, Coordinator
Physics Teacher Education Program
Illinois State University

Brian Whatcott Altus OK Eureka!