Milking the Thorium Cow - Periodic Table of Videos

  • Published on Jan 11, 2019
  • How to produce Actinium from a "cow" of Thorium... Filmed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
    More links and info in full description ↓↓↓
    More on Actinium:
    Oak Ridge National Laboratory (nuclear science):
    With thanks to Rose Boll and everyone else at Oak Ridge.
    Discuss this video on Brady's subreddit:
    Support us on Patreon:
    More chemistry at
    Follow us on Facebook at
    And on Twitter at
    From the School of Chemistry at The University of Nottingham:
    With thanks to the Garfield Weston Foundation.
    Periodic Videos films are by video journalist Brady Haran:
    Brady's Blog:
    Join Brady's mailing list for updates and extra stuff ---
  • Science & TechnologyScience & Technology

Comments • 855

  • Milos Ristic
    Milos Ristic 15 hours ago +1

    Cheer's professors! Radiochemistry is another great field of study!!! :) :D :)

  • Technomaniac Dude

    1000$ for nothing..

  • Colonel Graff
    Colonel Graff 5 days ago

    1:45 why would you name your kid Rose Bowl

  • Grant Marshall
    Grant Marshall 8 days ago

    I am too ignorant to understand much of this but find it fascinating nonetheless. Nice to see that such dangerous waste from years ago is helping to save lives rather than take them .

  • Indigo 132
    Indigo 132 12 days ago

    0:45 Wait, they made Thallium shoot off a particle! But Thallium isn’t radioactive! Anyone else notice this?

  • mechadense
    mechadense 17 days ago +1

    7:37 that's where it gets scary ...

  • That one guy with the extremely long username

    I'm in the wrong business..

  • H C
    H C 22 days ago

    All i see is robot arms and an aperture logo

  • Source Pyre
    Source Pyre 25 days ago

    Now im imagining what a thorium milkshake tastes like.

  • wolfedog99
    wolfedog99 29 days ago

    They should store the thorium in spheres under a vacuum.

  • pinkace
    pinkace 29 days ago

    Only patients that can afford it get treated. The rest of us die.

  • Austin Thrasher
    Austin Thrasher Month ago

    Question: they only want Actinium? If so, why?

    • Christopher Willis
      Christopher Willis 2 days ago

      Because it is the precursor to the Thallium decay chain they are interested in.

  • Heliosquare
    Heliosquare Month ago

    Very Midna's lamentesque tune, it's nice

  • scudrunnerS92
    scudrunnerS92 Month ago

    How well do the treatments work for patients?

  • Guest Informant
    Guest Informant Month ago

    Did you just make a video about how effective homeopathy is ;-)

    • Neon Red kill
      Neon Red kill 13 days ago

      No they did not. In homeopathy theroey dilution enhances the power of said cure. In this case the substance is so radioactive that any more than a nanogram would be to radioactive for anyone to safely handle

  • Canal do Montador
    Canal do Montador Month ago

    Ola sou do Brasil amo os videos de vocês e gostaria de fazer uma pergunta teórica para quem sabe gerar um próximo vídeo.
    o que aconteceria se por acedente fosse solto muito hidrogênio na atmosfera!

  • Ghou1Lord
    Ghou1Lord Month ago +2

    So this is almost as expensive as printer ink.

  • The Kaiser
    The Kaiser Month ago +1

    Periodic Videos
    "A thousand millions" is a milliard.

  • Sudo Penguin
    Sudo Penguin Month ago

    Cancer is quite a profitable industry

  • Chris
    Chris Month ago

    Weird how radioactivity both gives and cures cancer

  • Nathan Merrill
    Nathan Merrill Month ago

    8:22 a thousand million dollars! A billion dollars??

  • Roland Lemmers
    Roland Lemmers Month ago +1

    Well children, this is where your milk comes from.

  • Dylan Martin
    Dylan Martin Month ago +1

    That is udderly amazing!

  • Mark Gigiel
    Mark Gigiel Month ago

    Don't have a cow man. Unless it's a thorium one.

  • 0__0
    0__0 Month ago

    thanks for explaining the nanogram. i've never heard of it in my entire life.

  • Shruggz Da Str8-Faced Clown

    Do they have chocolate thorium yet?

  • Yami -kun
    Yami -kun Month ago

    Only alpha-decane?

  • thatjokerperson
    thatjokerperson Month ago

    1000 million dollars ({[science ]})

  • Kor Taffel
    Kor Taffel Month ago

    This guy explained static electricity to elementary school kids before making thins video

  • Richard Smith
    Richard Smith Month ago

    Oh, that's my neck of the woods. Not that it is out of the question for you to go there, the US doesn't have that many nuclear labs.

  • Reltpid
    Reltpid Month ago

    Thorium reactor

  • cataria pega
    cataria pega Month ago

    so some hugely complete, processing and extraction process, of what then becomes more cancerous produts being put into people, that do create further cancers!, instead of just using cannabis extract, that has been shown to be highly effective, and doesn't require radioactive shielding to be produced....

  • Dewald Maritz
    Dewald Maritz Month ago

    When i think of science i see this guy's face

  • Bart Bols
    Bart Bols Month ago

    What if the arm breaks?

  • Scott M
    Scott M Month ago +1

    So dilute you'd think it's homeopathy. But its not, its SCIENCE!

  • AshGTE
    AshGTE Month ago

    Afghan opium farmers pay the Chinese $1k for 1 liter of a cutting liquid.

  • Justas Bezaras
    Justas Bezaras Month ago

    10 grams of this material is worth more than all money on earth

    VENOM Month ago

    keep those robotic arms away from howard wolowitz

  • Anon archist
    Anon archist Month ago

    the medicinal ingredients that are more expensive than $1000 million per gram are private jets and mansions.

  • David Messer
    David Messer Month ago

    I wonder if the Thorium cow produces any moo-ons...

  • 1814Custom
    1814Custom Month ago

    He forgot to hold up his pinky finger..

  • Supahfly uk
    Supahfly uk Month ago

    Well that's some expensive milk, top tip don't pour it on your cornflakes!

  • brainfarth
    brainfarth Month ago

    As a welder, I wonder if I can stab myself with some thoriated tungsten in the cancerous areas I might have and cure it on the cheap.

  • claton blade
    claton blade Month ago

    @Periodic videos could you talk about Hydrofluorosilicic Acid

  • RWBHere
    RWBHere Month ago

    *_'No cows were harmed during the making of this video.'_*

  • MrTermi95
    MrTermi95 Month ago

    64 guys are thorium cows!

  • T Perm
    T Perm Month ago

    If 1 nanogram costs $1000, wouldn't 1 gram cost $1 000 000 000 000, not $1 000 000 000?

  • Kalle Kula
    Kalle Kula Month ago

    But only people with LOTS of money will be treated in the US.
    Don't be poor in the US.

  • Kent Leech
    Kent Leech Month ago

    Fascinating! BTW, what is the artist of the piano music? Enjoying it.

  • Dat NguyenThe
    Dat NguyenThe Month ago

    8:13 I don't wanna be "that" guy, but 1000$ for a thousandth of a microgram (micro means a millionth, so a thousandth of a millionth is a billionth) means 1 gram would cost 1000 Billion $ (one trillion dollars). So about 22g of that stuff is worth more than the US national debt.

  • Nick Valentine
    Nick Valentine Month ago

    He needs to fix his hair. He’s trying to look like a smart mad scientist or Einstein or something. It’s not working, he just looks weird, fix the hair man, you’ll help yourself out a lot.

    • Michael McBain
      Michael McBain 10 days ago

      Yeah. His career's going nowhere until... Oh, this is Professor Sir Martin Poliakoff CBE, Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society you're talking about?

  • nab 6215
    nab 6215 Month ago

    At least know I know what radiation treatments are so expensive

  • durvsh
    durvsh Month ago

    The gamma ray imaging device company PHDS co. has the aperture science labs logo with a gamma (which somewhat looks like a vertically inverted lambda which refers to half life series) in it

  • Toughen Up, Fluffy
    Toughen Up, Fluffy 2 months ago

    Weak force win! Rah Rah Rah!

  • Toughen Up, Fluffy
    Toughen Up, Fluffy 2 months ago

    Don't wanna treat it. I wanna greet it.

  • Toughen Up, Fluffy
    Toughen Up, Fluffy 2 months ago


  • Elli P
    Elli P 2 months ago

    That's a very helpful cow; no bull.

  • Franko
    Franko 2 months ago

    Those people are living saints

  • Scottish Osymandus.
    Scottish Osymandus. 2 months ago

    Isn't a nanogram the same as a billionth?

  • Dark Rainbow
    Dark Rainbow 2 months ago

    Now milk a chocolate cow.

  • maximmm99
    maximmm99 2 months ago

    Somebody check my math - $1000 for 1 nanogram is $1000 x 10^9 = a million million dollars per gram right?

  • yensama
    yensama 2 months ago

    $1000... my hospital will probably charge me $30,000

  • Subhabrata Ghosh
    Subhabrata Ghosh 2 months ago

    professor u know.. when i watch ur video then i become so much involved with it that when a send video peeps out on the side of the video i go to that after ending that one.. but after that i realised that i haven't commented the previous one.. but i am not willing to go back and waste my time... so i carry on......probably this the first comment to any of ur videos as far as i can remember i have watched 75 videos of urs approx..but i haven't commented any one of apologies....for the largest comment.....

  • King SHILL of the Reptillian High Command

    Building 7920?! 😲 How many buildings do they own?! I have trouble keeping up with my one bedroom apartment, geez! 😂

  • Rahbeep
    Rahbeep 2 months ago

    "Highly radioactive materials handling"
    Uses container for Mini Cream Puffs

  • Cooper Gates
    Cooper Gates 2 months ago

    Note: Over 97% of bismuth-213 beta decays; just a little bit of it emits alpha particles instead.

    • Cooper Gates
      Cooper Gates 2 days ago

      +Christopher Willis It's just not 4 consecutive alpha decays most of the time. There are a couple of nuclei that are guaranteed 4 in a row.

    • Christopher Willis
      Christopher Willis 2 days ago

      Yes, but then it alpha decays from there.

  • Todd Krough
    Todd Krough 2 months ago

    we have canabis now dont need it. yellow # 5 is a byproduct of oil and they put that in your food. isn't that great?

  • Positivity
    Positivity 2 months ago +1

    Did anyone else have the "hydration mayonnaise" ad??? It made me very uncomfortable lol.

  • Alexey Souvorkin
    Alexey Souvorkin 2 months ago

    At $1 billion/gram this is one of least expensive ingredients to make the medicine??! (8:40)
    What is the most expensive?
    Quark containing quantum milk from a unicorn?

  • KosmonautOfficial
    KosmonautOfficial 2 months ago

    Great video

  • Ultracity6060
    Ultracity6060 2 months ago

    My grandparents worked (and met) working at Oak Ridge in the days leading up to the Manhattan project, and one of them later died of cancer. Cool to see that the same facility is now using radiation to help cure cancer.

    Radiation: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems.

  • James T Joseph
    James T Joseph 2 months ago +1

    Legacy of ORNL still continues. Exited about the MSRE.

  • T J Vaughan
    T J Vaughan 2 months ago

    what smashing info

  • Parker Patterson
    Parker Patterson 2 months ago

    2:44 Is that a Nalgene bottle?...

  • Kevin Lane
    Kevin Lane 2 months ago +1

    The question is can it cure leukemia?

  • Jimmy Amato
    Jimmy Amato 2 months ago

    I take issue with the part of the graphic that represents beta decay LOL!

  • gmc9753
    gmc9753 2 months ago

    But can he juggle with those arms?

  • Leafseason Magbag
    Leafseason Magbag 2 months ago

    That robotic arm is absolutely insane!

  • monkeywentbananas
    monkeywentbananas 2 months ago

    Witch doctors ! Using radiation to "treat" cancer is like blood letting in the 18th century !

  • Jasao Ruion
    Jasao Ruion 2 months ago

    If we didn't have enough radiation already 2.5 gigahertz and now 5G gigahertz.

  • raph009
    raph009 2 months ago

    Now, I'm really starting to regret taking that gap semester lol! I want to do more labs... X)

  • RedStefan
    RedStefan 2 months ago

    Radiation causes cancer and how do we treat cancer? With radiotherapy or the same radiation that caused it in the first place. Isn't hat brilliant!

  • TiagoTiago
    TiagoTiago 2 months ago

    Would it be possible to have glass with something like phosphor added to the mixture or as a coating, so that the glass would glow visibly to show where the radioactive material is?

    • Christopher Willis
      Christopher Willis 2 days ago +1

      I have something like that on my keychain. You can buy tritium light tubes that do something just like that.

  • Vink
    Vink 2 months ago

    I wonder where you can get those lead containers from? I tried looking for some but they aren't easy to find.

  • Colin Whiteside
    Colin Whiteside 2 months ago

    That manipulator arm reminded me, of all things, of Rod Hull and Emu.

  • Paris
    Paris 2 months ago

    How do you pay a thousand million dollars?
    You mean you’d pay a billion dollars

  • evilferris
    evilferris 2 months ago +1

    Over the years, it’s hard to judge, but I think this is one of the most fascinating videos you’ve ever done. Thank you!

  • lmwrt
    lmwrt 2 months ago +1

    Things are only waste in our limitid knowledge of today, because in nature, very little things are waste, if any. Great video.

  • Weta
    Weta 2 months ago +1

    Why don't they use gloveboxes?

    • Thomas Dyke
      Thomas Dyke 2 months ago

      We do! They're in the video. Once the Ra/Ac is seperated from the Thorium cow inside the cave, it gets moved to glove boxes for further processing

  • MrBanzoid
    MrBanzoid 2 months ago

    Facinating... The guy on the waldoes is a real manipulator!

  • Daniel Cezar
    Daniel Cezar 2 months ago +1

    update more frequently


  • Barry Manilowa
    Barry Manilowa 2 months ago

    I don't feel safe having American Southerners handling these dangerous materials.

    • Neon Red kill
      Neon Red kill 13 days ago

      just because someone is from the south does not mean they are racist like... wtf man what is wrong with you

    • Neon Red kill
      Neon Red kill 13 days ago

      +Barry Manilowa ... ? so you are making an assumption about someone based on both their race and what region they come from? hmmmm sounds familiar....

    • Christopher Willis
      Christopher Willis 2 months ago

      +Barry Manilowa He did no such thing, but you are def being a bigot.

    • Barry Manilowa
      Barry Manilowa 2 months ago

      acoow But you'll gladly defend racist white Southerners? Get out of my face!

    • acoow
      acoow 2 months ago

      Barry Manilowa, I don’t like bigots commenting on TheXvid videos.

  • D Hawthorne
    D Hawthorne 2 months ago

    $1000000000000 and much denser than steel...
    That is one expensive tiny paperclip.

  • M L
    M L 2 months ago

    The comments are full of people banging on about Thorium reactors.

  • First Last
    First Last 2 months ago

    i thought Thorium could be used as a very low waste and passively safe fission energy source

  • DanceTweety Looney Tune

    So a USA lab is making millions over the backs of sick people?

    • acoow
      acoow 2 months ago

      So you want Ray to work for nothing?

    • Thomas Dyke
      Thomas Dyke 2 months ago

      That's definitely an over-simplification. Nor do we produce even enough Actinium to make millions of dollars. I wish we could tho! The price is highly subsidized, but DOE likes sustainable programs so we charge enough to cover our salaried time, mostly.

  • reece cole
    reece cole 2 months ago

    Great video !

  • Melinda Green
    Melinda Green 2 months ago

    Fascinating. I didn't understand a bit of it.

  • Andy Pieters
    Andy Pieters 2 months ago

    looks like orange juice

  • Roach DoggJR
    Roach DoggJR 2 months ago

    I like that he said "a thousand million dollars" instead of "a billion dollars."