Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Understanding Nuclear Guidelines in GWOT

[In reading the following, do not forget certain things:
The chance of another largescale, terror attack on the U.S. is probably less than 4% today, provided an undimenished level of monitoring continues. The chance of a crude nuclear device or a dirty bomb detonation are much, much smaller - perhaps only on the order of some 1/1,000th of 4%.

To conduct a cleanup, people will have to enter the contamination area and suffer time and PC limited exposures to very high sources of radiation (such as, Cesium 137). It is also conceivable that vital (to national security) items would have to be retrieved, in limited situations]

In an apparent relaxation of nuclear medicine, the Department of Homeland Security has just issued cleanup standards for "dirty bomb" terrorist attacks that is far less protective than those set by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for Superfund sites, nuclear power plants and nuclear waste dumps.

Since metropolitan areas would most likely be targeted, the public may be justifiably perplexed by the federal government's apparent abdication of its paternalistic role toward national health. Do not be mislead by too quick a read of the Associated Press report, written apparently to elicit alarm or outrage among the careless.

Maximum radiation levels up to 10,000 millirems a year would be permitted (subject to state determinations) under DHS guidelines. [This level] can be expected to produce a cancer in one of every four people exposed, said Diane D'Arrigo, of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, a Washington-based nuclear industry watchdog group, citing government radiation risk assessments. The 10,000 mrem level was established by the International Commission on Radiation Protection as an acceptable exposure standard after cleanup. Some areas would have to be placed off limits permanently, say the guidelines.

By comparison, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission limits public exposure to 100 millirems per year in several cleanup standards it regulates. Even the exposure at the future Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site would be limited to only 15 millirems.

The 10,000 mrem puts terrorists on notice that Americans could still cope. In that sense, it serves as a deterrent to foolish actions. It does not tell terrorists the level of vengeance that we would ultimately invoke. With Allah's help, however, a few of them may have a lucid moment for a correct guess.


At 05 January, 2006 16:14, Blogger bothenook said...

can't get too excited about a 10 rem per year dose. check out what the folks at are talking about living in the ex-soviet union around lake bakal or near mayak. some of those areas have 5 rem per HOUR doserates at the surface of the lake.

At 05 January, 2006 17:04, Blogger Vigilis said...

That is an excellent point, Bo. Thanks for your sharp observation.

At 07 January, 2006 00:19, Blogger OP said...

Brother Vigilis, outstanding post. The fact is the peace time radiation dose levels that have been long established for civilians err considerably on the side of caution. That is as it should be.

Military doctrine and plans allow for much higher levels of radiation exposue in combat, decon and clean-up operations.

Since the GWOT began on 9/11/2001, and despite the protestations of the hardcore Big Blue minority, all Americans are potential combatants. We must show the enemy we will be cower and we will never falter.

At 11 January, 2006 02:23, Blogger Vigilis said...

Excellent points, OSAPIAN.


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