Can you dislodge the radioactive part of a smoke alarm?

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Sarah Palmer

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Sarah Palmer  asked the Naked Scientists:

Wondered if you could help me. We recently moved into a house and had our fire alarms replaced. With one (ionising type) the engineer struggled to get the base off the ceiling. After he left I noticed a small metal piece on the floor which initially I thought was a broken part of a screw but it had no circular markings and was not a screw head.

I am a bit worried that it was the Americum 241 element of the smoke alarm.

It did look like the workings were mainly in the lid that he had managed to get off ok with just a compartment in the base with the electrical wires in.

I suppose my question is could an electrical engineer displace the radioactive part by just removing the smoke alarm from the ceiling or is it too hard to do this?

Your help would be appreciated as I am not sure what has happened to this piece of metal?

Thank you


What do you think?
« Last Edit: 29/01/2012 11:35:57 by _system »