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(Washington Post)   More than a dozen workers were exposed to leaking radiation at the nation's underground nuclear waste dump in New Mexico. Officials state that the danger is over although they still don't know what caused it. NO FURTHER QUESTIONS   (washingtonpost.com) divider line 29
    More: Scary, New Mexico, nuclear waste, New Mexico State University, hot particle  
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2283 clicks; posted to Main » on 27 Feb 2014 at 9:08 AM (21 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



29 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-02-27 08:38:28 AM
I used to work security down there.
Lots of employees coming and going with radiation badges on.
We were there all the time. I asked why we weren't wearing radiations badges.
I was told I asked too many questions.

Needless to say, I got the fark out of there.

Don't work for idiots.
 
2014-02-27 09:10:54 AM
The one problem with radiation badges is that you don't know.  Until it's too late.
 
2014-02-27 09:12:12 AM
(yawn)
Can't we discuss alar on apples?

\old school fear-mongerer
 
2014-02-27 09:16:12 AM
I think it's pretty obvious that the Pope was involved in this cover up.


i.imgur.com
 
2014-02-27 09:17:33 AM

Cold_Sassy: The one problem with radiation badges is that you don't know.  Until it's too late.


Except modern pocket dosimeters come with alarms when you exceed dose rate and dose limits.
 
2014-02-27 09:21:35 AM
So, The Hulk is in PR these days.
 
2014-02-27 09:22:23 AM

SN1987a goes boom: Cold_Sassy: The one problem with radiation badges is that you don't know.  Until it's too late.

Except modern pocket dosimeters come with alarms when you exceed dose rate and dose limits.


Yeah... like most employers will spring for  that. They don't give a fark. Kudos to your employer.
 
2014-02-27 09:22:31 AM
It's a high tech landfill, you were expecting something else? Try visiting the place where your household refuse goes (NJ) and see if that smells like workers are "being exposed".

/yes, and to much worse stuff that a few unstable atoms.
 
2014-02-27 09:29:31 AM

bdub77: I think it's pretty obvious that the Pope was involved in this cover up.


[i.imgur.com image 629x543]


He is not who he appears to be.
img.fark.net
 
2014-02-27 09:39:12 AM

Cold_Sassy: The one problem with radiation badges is that you don't know.  Until it's too late.


Ideally they'd check the badges when you leave. If they show you've been exposed to radiation there's tons of things to do.

Most notably you'd remove your clothes/shoes, and get a good shower. That'll take care of 90% of the problem.

There's also treatments that stimulate white blood cell growth.

Potassium iodine will cause your thyroid to fill up with that, rather than radioiodine.

Other metals that will bind the radiatioactive particles, causing to be excreted in feces/urine.

---

So, it makes a difference.
 
2014-02-27 09:50:17 AM
15 years ---- So much for storing this stuff safely til the end of time.
 
2014-02-27 09:58:14 AM

spawn73: Cold_Sassy: The one problem with radiation badges is that you don't know.  Until it's too late.

Ideally they'd check the badges when you leave. If they show you've been exposed to radiation there's tons of things to do.

Most notably you'd remove your clothes/shoes, and get a good shower. That'll take care of 90% of the problem.

There's also treatments that stimulate white blood cell growth.

Potassium iodine will cause your thyroid to fill up with that, rather than radioiodine.

Other metals that will bind the radiatioactive particles, causing to be excreted in feces/urine.

---

So, it makes a difference.


Good times...

i.ytimg.com
 
2014-02-27 10:00:15 AM

spawn73: Cold_Sassy: The one problem with radiation badges is that you don't know.  Until it's too late.

Ideally they'd check the badges when you leave. If they show you've been exposed to radiation there's tons of things to do.

Most notably you'd remove your clothes/shoes, and get a good shower. That'll take care of 90% of the problem.

There's also treatments that stimulate white blood cell growth.

Potassium iodine will cause your thyroid to fill up with that, rather than radioiodine.

Other metals that will bind the radiatioactive particles, causing to be excreted in feces/urine.

So, it makes a difference.


Issue the employee a new badge.
 
2014-02-27 10:01:11 AM

vudukungfu: I used to work security down there.
Lots of employees coming and going with radiation badges on.
We were there all the time. I asked why we weren't wearing radiations badges.
I was told I asked too many questions.

Needless to say, I got the fark out of there.

Don't work for idiots.



You don't need no stinkin' badges
www.rudebadmood.com
 
2014-02-27 10:08:09 AM

Cold_Sassy: SN1987a goes boom: Cold_Sassy: The one problem with radiation badges is that you don't know.  Until it's too late.

Except modern pocket dosimeters come with alarms when you exceed dose rate and dose limits.

Yeah... like most employers will spring for  that. They don't give a fark. Kudos to your employer.



Some do.  For instance, the NOG in Virginia springs for EDs (Electronic Dosimeters) for their security workers and their response team.  But generally, especially at a DOE site, security is not given EDs.  Sites could probably easily designate a rack for "button on" non-access control EDs for security personnel for certain areas but usually, there isn't the need.
 
2014-02-27 10:20:05 AM

vudukungfu: I used to work security down there.
Lots of employees coming and going with radiation badges on.
We were there all the time. I asked why we weren't wearing radiations badges.
I was told I asked too many questions.

Needless to say, I got the fark out of there.

Don't work for idiots.


They were wearing Beta/Gamma TLDs.  And it was only for workers that regularly go into rad control areas (usually those who have the potential to receive reportable dose).  Those guys were being pricks (or just indifferent) to you...but then your Joe rad-worker knows or cares little for health physics.  One of the HPs out there probably would have been happy to talk with you and alleviate your concerns by explaining the rad areas and monitoring conditions and potential dose to you, etc.
 
2014-02-27 10:35:29 AM

spawn73: Cold_Sassy: The one problem with radiation badges is that you don't know.  Until it's too late.

Ideally they'd check the badges when you leave. If they show you've been exposed to radiation there's tons of things to do.

Most notably you'd remove your clothes/shoes, and get a good shower. That'll take care of 90% of the problem.

There's also treatments that stimulate white blood cell growth.

Potassium iodine will cause your thyroid to fill up with that, rather than radioiodine.

Other metals that will bind the radiatioactive particles, causing to be excreted in feces/urine.

---

So, it makes a difference.



The badges are going to only show external shallow whole-body dose and deep dose (and neutron if they have a neutron badge).  And the year limit on shallow whole-body (SDE-WB) is so high that this contamination event would probably not register a glance.

What they could do is lapel monitoring.  But if you're in charge of the rad program out there, what do you do with respect to that?  Consider that your constant air monitors register little to nothing the vast majority of the time.  So do you want to set your rad-control program for three work shifts seven days a week to do the following:

- Require every rad worker to wear a lapel air sampler during their entire time in the rad area
- Each rad worker has to fill out an information card taped to the lapel monitor before they start work.
- At the end of each shift, someone has to collect and number all the filters and replace all filters and make sure the pumps are charging for the next shift.
- All numbered filters have to be organized and the pump information has to be coded into system (spreadsheet, computer program, paper) so results can be tied to the information.
- All filters are placed through a counter and the count data is spit out.
- Count data is taken and converted to DPM based on QA results from the machine and background radiation variance.
- Either a DAC or internal dose value is derived.  DAC depends on the worker accurately recording the time they worked in the area. And both DAC and internal value (based on stochastic and non-stochastic level of intake **based on the nuclide** <--this means you have to know what nuclide(s) you're dealing with and at a waste treatment plant...that's a biatch).
- Finally, attach the readings to the individuals.
- Run a daily report to see if anyone sticks out.


Or...instead of setting up a resource intensive monitoring program, you could just watch your air monitors for anything funny.  Once seen, have your workers get a Bioassay for the present nuclides to see if anything shows up. And of course there's already the regular/special bioassays that already happen that may show something...
 
2014-02-27 10:38:24 AM
I'll bet a worker opened up a drum to see if there are really zombies inside.
 
2014-02-27 10:39:43 AM
This hits one of my pet peeves in a big way so I'm going to get all factual on ya.

Skip this if you'ld rather be all OMGWTFBBQ!!1 and don't really care about specifics.

1. What's described here isn't a radiation leak. That would be a whole in some shielding or something similar that would allow streaming energy to pass through and expose someone to unexpectedly high radiation levels. This is a leak of radioactive material. There's a goddamned difference.

2. The exposure in this case is what is often called an "uptake of radioactive material." This means that radioactive material (NOT RADIATION) is airborn, and people inhaled it. This is why WIPP says that their airborn radioactive material detectors are indicating that one of the containers is leaking.

3. WIPP accepts plutonium waste. Plutonium is primarily an alpha particle emitter. Meaning, the type of radiation emitted by plutonium is alpha particles. Alpha particles, (due to their high charge and mass) can't penetrate even the dead layer of skin on your body. Inhaled plutonium, on the other hand, is toxic and alpha particles hitting the living tissue in your lungs can do a lot of damage.

4. The only way to identify if someone has had an uptake of plutonium is through bioassay. Yes, this means what you think. They collect their piss and shiat and it is analyzed for plutonium.

5. Don't hyperventillate about the generic journalist language of people being exposed to radiation. People working in a radiologically controlled area have to be trained and qualified as an Occupational Worker - that is a worker who is occupationally exposed to ionizing radiation. These people are monitored for radiation exposure and radioactive contamination. There are federal limits on how much occupational exposure is legal. They DO get exposed and it isn't a big deal. It IS a big deal if they have an unexpected/unmonitored exposure or a radioactive uptake. (Like what happened here.)

6. Some people are Occupational Workers. They know who they are. They know the requirements. Their exposure is monitored with TLDs and EDs and such because it's required. Other people - even in the same facility - are not Occupational Workers. They don't get trained. They don't get monitored. It's not an emergency, because they aren't allowed to be inside a radiologically controlled area. More to the point - they aren't required by the law to have any of that training and monitoring.

There is obviously a problem going on at WIPP. Describing it incorrectly (as the news always does) gets people all upset. There IS reason for concern here, but they've dumbed the information down to the point where it looks as though WIPP is incompetent. More likely, WIPP workers are getting set to dress out in respirators and multiple sets of PCs so they can survey and inspect the containers to find out exactly how big a problem they have. In the media, this gets portrayed as WIPP covering up a problem.

End rant. Proceed to tell me how I know nothing about the topic.
 
2014-02-27 10:40:56 AM
springfieldfiles.com

/Joke's on them! If the plant melts down, there won't be any power for the sign, hehe!
 
2014-02-27 10:43:49 AM

vudukungfu: I used to work security down there.
Lots of employees coming and going with radiation badges on.
We were there all the time. I asked why we weren't wearing radiations badges.
I was told I asked too many questions.


You probably weren't in a radiation hazard area. The actual long-term storage is in a stable rock formation 2000 feet underground, with a few auxiliary transfer areas also containing the radioactive materials.  If you're sitting outside at the gate, or at the front desk, you're at no more risk of radiological exposure than if you were sitting at home. Your management probably should have told you that, instead of telling you not to ask questions.

img.fark.net
 
2014-02-27 10:58:03 AM
Just signed up for Fark after years of reading, and seeing the article, I thought my time had come to object to subby's and WaPo's derp.
Now I find people with backgrounds similar to mine thoughtfully discussing the points I wanted to make.
I wanted herp and derp and got neither.

/guess I should have lurked the politics tab instead...
 
2014-02-27 10:58:07 AM

Committee_For_Aesthetic_Deletions: 5. Don't hyperventillate about the generic journalist language of people being exposed to radiation. People working in a radiologically controlled area have to be trained and qualified as an Occupational Worker - that is a worker who is occupationally exposed to ionizing radiation. These people are monitored for radiation exposure and radioactive contamination. There are federal limits on how much occupational exposure is legal. They DO get exposed and it isn't a big deal. It IS a big deal if they have an unexpected/unmonitored exposure or a radioactive uptake. (Like what happened here.)



Knowing the dose intake and exposure for literally tens of thousands of rad workers across decades, I almost shiat myself the first time I saw quarterly badge results for CT Nurses, Vascular Radiologists, etc.  Those people get hammered.  And the investigation is something like:

RSO:  "Ok, why did you blow through the Alara goals like OJ through a police roadblock?!"
Nurse: "Was it that bad?"
RSO: "Well, you received 7234 mRem in two quarters."
Nurse: "Huh..."
RSO:  "Were you wearing your apron and shield?"
Nurse: "Uh...sure..."
RSO:  "Ok, cool.  If your badge is over 2500 the next quarter, I'm pulling you out of rotation."
Nurse: "Ok."
 
2014-02-27 11:40:01 AM
RSO: "Well, you received 7234 mRem in two quarters."

Wha..? Over 7 Rem in six months? Isn't the nuclear industry limit 5 Rem per year?


/"and now enjoy a screening of the Jane Fonda movie....Barbarella..."
 
2014-02-27 11:45:33 AM

UberDave: Knowing the dose intake and exposure for literally tens of thousands of rad workers across decades, I almost shiat myself the first time I saw quarterly badge results for CT Nurses, Vascular Radiologists, etc. Those people get hammered. And the investigation is something like:

RSO: "Ok, why did you blow through the Alara goals like OJ through a police roadblock?!"
Nurse: "Was it that bad?"
RSO: "Well, you received 7234 mRem in two quarters."
Nurse: "Huh..."
RSO: "Were you wearing your apron and shield?"
Nurse: "Uh...sure..."
RSO: "Ok, cool. If your badge is over 2500 the next quarter, I'm pulling you out of rotation."
Nurse: "Ok."


7234 mREM in half a year!!?? Holy shiat! I know that those radiopharmaceuticals have to have a high specific activity. You'd think that a nurse would have some concern for his/her own exposure.

The annual federal limit for an occupational worker is 5000 mREM!
And at the nuclear plant that I work at, we have an administrative dose limit of 1000 mREM.

It's understandable that theres, no limit on how much radiation exposure you can receive for medical purposes, but I've asked radiologists about the dose from chest x-rays before. I've also been looked at as though I have two heads.

And the lack of limits is for the patients - not the medical staff. They should be limited similarly to the nuclear industry. . . you know. . . if they want to limit their chance of cancer.
 
2014-02-27 12:27:56 PM

exboyracer: 15 years ---- So much for storing this stuff safely til the end of time.


THIS!
imageshack.com
 
2014-02-27 01:21:04 PM
Committee_For_Aesthetic_Deletions:

The annual federal limit for an occupational worker is 5000 mREM!
And at the nuclear plant that I work at, we have an administrative dose limit of 1000 mREM.


Seabrook huh?  Yep....I see that.  :)

It's understandable that theres, no limit on how much radiation exposure you can receive for medical purposes, but I've asked radiologists about the dose from chest x-rays before. I've also been looked at as though I have two heads.


I've done the same.  One girl told me "the minimum".  It's amazing how in the dark they are about their dose (probably from circular filing the report).  And they don't really have an RWP to sign in on and no ALARA briefing of substance (at least from what I've seen) so frolicking about the CT scan lab while active scans are going on without wearing an apron or thyroid shield could be scary-common from what I can tell.  What strikes me is that they wear a single whole body badge and if they are in a rad area that requires lead apron, shield etc., are they taking the time to put their badge on the outside of the apron?...or are they wearing the apron at all when they get some crazy high-ass read?

This is from mostly looking at data so consider it as you will...I will have to speak with more RSOs or med rad workers to get a feel for what actually happens.
 
2014-02-27 01:25:48 PM
Time to suit up!
www.joblo.com
 
2014-02-27 02:26:02 PM

Committee_For_Aesthetic_Deletions: This hits one of my pet peeves in a big way so I'm going to get all factual on ya.

Skip this if you'ld rather be all OMGWTFBBQ!!1 and don't really care about specifics.

1. What's described here isn't a radiation leak. That would be a whole in some shielding or something similar that would allow streaming energy to pass through and expose someone to unexpectedly high radiation levels. This is a leak of radioactive material. There's a goddamned difference.

2. The exposure in this case is what is often called an "uptake of radioactive material." This means that radioactive material (NOT RADIATION) is airborn, and people inhaled it. This is why WIPP says that their airborn radioactive material detectors are indicating that one of the containers is leaking.

3. WIPP accepts plutonium waste. Plutonium is primarily an alpha particle emitter. Meaning, the type of radiation emitted by plutonium is alpha particles. Alpha particles, (due to their high charge and mass) can't penetrate even the dead layer of skin on your body. Inhaled plutonium, on the other hand, is toxic and alpha particles hitting the living tissue in your lungs can do a lot of damage.

4. The only way to identify if someone has had an uptake of plutonium is through bioassay. Yes, this means what you think. They collect their piss and shiat and it is analyzed for plutonium.

5. Don't hyperventillate about the generic journalist language of people being exposed to radiation. People working in a radiologically controlled area have to be trained and qualified as an Occupational Worker - that is a worker who is occupationally exposed to ionizing radiation. These people are monitored for radiation exposure and radioactive contamination. There are federal limits on how much occupational exposure is legal. They DO get exposed and it isn't a big deal. It IS a big deal if they have an unexpected/unmonitored exposure or a radioactive uptake. (Like what happened here.)

6. Some people are Occupational Workers. They k ...


Thank you!  Good to see someone that knows something.

Both of my parents use to work at WIPP.  My father was a manager there.  I've met most of the people and higher ups at the plant (granted that was 15+ years ago).  They definitely have safety in mind there and regulations are tight. (I remember complaints about having to keep making changes to the plant because of ever changing federal EPA regulations).

Some of the other media sites that have posted on this show that the released exposure in the plant by was 1 millrem.  It is pretty much on the bottom of the scale.  This is from the DOE Oakridge website on radiation.

Levels of Radiation:
Gastrointestinal series (upper & lower): 1400 millirem
CT Scan (head & body): 1100 millirem
Radon in average household: 200 millirem/year
Plutonium-powered pacemaker: 100 millirem/year
Natural radioactivity in your body: 40 millirem/year
Cosmic radiation: 31 millirem/year
Mammogram: 30 millirem
Smoking Cigarettes (1 pack/day): 15-20 millirem/year
*Maximum possible from normal operations on the Oak Ridge Reservation: 12 millirem/year
Consumer products: 11 millirem/year
Chest X-ray: 10 millirem
Dental X-ray: 10 millirem
Using natural gas in the home: 9 millirem/year
Road construction material: 4 millirem/year
Living near a nuclear power station: 1 millirem/year
Air travel (every 2006 miles): 1 millirem
 
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