[time-nuts] Question for the cesium nuts.

Chuck Harris cfharris at erols.com
Sat Mar 17 00:24:00 EDT 2007


Hal Murray wrote:
>> Well, there is one reason, and that is the US DRMO discovered it is
>> cheaper to destroy test equipment than it is to sell it.
> 
> Is that really true?  I'd think a reseller would buy stuff by the truckload 
> without much hassle and that would avoid carting it to the dump.
> 
> Are there some funny accounting rules screwing things up?

Not accounting rules as you meant them, but rather end use rules.

It takes someone with a functioning brain to figure out what the
different pieces of equipment are, and to make sure that the
end use restrictions are honored.  It is far easier to drive
over the stuff with a dozer, and render it inert than it is to
propagate the necessary paper chain... or so the DRMO says.

You have already seen a very large number of these pieces show up
on ebay.  Whenever you see a piece of test equipment that is so
ugly and banged up that it makes you want to cry, that is something
that was pulled out of the scrap that DRMO sent to recyclers.

> Are there security considerations?

Yes, but none that are sane.  They are destroying test equipment
that can still be bought by anyone direct from the manufacturer.

Call your congressman and complain.  It really is a stupid
policy.  It started under Clinton's administration when they
got worried that US gov't surplus would be used for unsavory
purposes.

> Can they still toss stuff in the dump?  Will green regulations raise the cost 
> of destroying gear enough so that it's cheaper to sell it?

Nope, they have to recycle it.  The burnt, smashed remains
go to several different electronics recycling companies across
the nation.  These recyclers hire the mentally handicapped to
literally tear the stuff apart with hammers and chisels, and
rip the tantalum caps and chips and other goodies off of the
boards.  When you are in one of these places, you would swear
you are in some evil anti-Santa's workshop.  The choicer pieces
often get prescreened, and show up on fleabay as pretty bunged
up sad looking pieces of trash.

On the bright side, there is a terrific amount of "spare parts"
starting to show up as the smashed hulks are being harvested for
otherwise unobtainable parts... again, most of that shows up on
fleabay.

-Chuck Harris




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