Radiation Risks – READ CAREFULLY
750 RADS in AZ possible. look at your home on the map
Everyone: I recommend that you keep this info handy as news of the approaching fallout
is eventually released to the American public, though that will happen far too late to do anyone any good, as is usual for our gooberment and our
There is no level of exposure to radiation that is beneficial.
There is no level of exposure to radiation that is harmless.
Even very low doses of radiation pose a risk of cancer
Please keep these facts in mind when you see the talking heads of the news
media trying to placate the public by saying things like “it’s not dangerous”.
The word dangerous, in this context, is highly subjective and relative.
It is also beside the point. There is no level of radiation that is good for
you, so any level of exposure is automatically not good for you.
Please keep in mind that I earned the “3R” Modifier to my MOS when I was in
the Army, which was the result of my attending the two-week “short course”
on Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Defense. I was certified to serve as
an NBC Equipment Officer while I was in the Army, and I know a thing or
two about NBC Warfare.
The “international” standard for radiation measurement is the “Sievert”,
which is a metric standard. One thousandth of a Sievert is a
“millisievert”, which is what the news media has been using to report the levels of radiation in Japan:
“Dose rates of up to 400 millisievert per hour (mSv/hr) have been reported at the site.”
Here in the USA, we have for decades used Rems and Rads, which are based
upon an English standard. The differences are somewhat confusing, so I am
going to break this down to more easily understood measurements.
If you have old surplus Civil Defense dosimeters or Radiation Survey Meters
(also inaccurately called “Gieger Counters”), these will be in measurements
of Roentgens or Rads, not millisieverts, so knowing how to convert between
the two standards will become important very shortly.
No, the following conversion is not scientifically precise, but it is close
enough for our purposes on the ground. Nuclear physicists may split hairs
as often as they split atoms, but that does not mean that we, as the people
who actually have our lives on the line, cannot come up with a more useful
way of measuring our own level of risk.
A “Rem” and a “Rad” are virtually interchangeable for field measurements.
True, they are not exactly equal, but they are close enough. One thousandth
of a Rad is called a “millirad”. One thousandth of a Rem is called a ”millirem”.
One “Rad” is roughly equivalent to .876 Rem, more than close enough for me
to calculate them as equal. By the time you worked out the exact
conversion, you might be cooked, so don’t worry about the fine differences
when you are trying to calculate whether you should close the door to your underground shelter.
1 millisievert (mSv) = 100 Millirems (or Millirads)
10 millisieverts = 1000 Millirads = 1 Rad
So, roughly speaking, you need 10 Millisieverts to equal one Rad.
Looking at the above news report from the BBC, we see that today the Japanese are admitting to 400 Millisieverts per hour of radiation on the
ground within 20 miles of their former nuclear reactor complex. That roughly equates to about 40 Rads per hour.
Holy Scheisse, Batman!
The effects of radiation are cumulative, so 40 Rads per hour will result in a total of 80 Rads of exposure in two hours,
120 Rads of exposure in three hours, and so on.
100 Rads, or about 1000 Millisieverts, will result in the symptoms commonly referred to as “radiation sickness”. 200 Rads, or about 2000 Millisieverts,
will make you as sicker than the proverbial dog.
Considering that 400 Rads would definitely put you in a hospital, and 600 would absolutely, positively kill you dead, 40 per hour is bad news,
After about ten hours of exposure at that rate you would definitely wind up
deathly ill and would have a 50-50 chance of winding up dead. IF you
survived, you would also have about a 50 percent chance of developing some form of malignant cancer.
After about 15 hours of exposure at that rate, you would not have to worry about ever getting cancer, because you would be dead in a few weeks to a
month. 600 rads of exposure will be 100 percent fatal.
40 rads per hour will definitely ruin your day. The level at what used to be the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex has apparently risen a LOT higher
than that, because the entire facility has been completely evacuated as of 2000 hours MDST today:
Break out your Survey Meters and your dosimeters, folks. You need to check
these out and confirm that they are recently calibrated and zeroed properly.
I last checked my dosimeters in January of 2011. Now you know why I check their zero at least once every year.
I have issued out dosimeters to myself and my wife, and to two of our neighbors who travel outside of our immediate area on a regular basis.
They can phone in the readings from their dosimeters every day or two, and I can re-zero dosimeters that are brought back to my house. If they can tell me
where they traveled to each day, I can calculate where they might have been exposed to radiation.
Mine are military surplus dosimeters, so these are designed to survive the abuse of field conditions. We have a neighbor who has some of the old
Civil Defense dosimeters, but I don’t know how well they will hold up under field
use. From looking at them, I believe that they may be designed for only light use.
Use what you have, and forget about being able to buy any dosimeters or Radiation Survey Meters now that the balloon has gone up. There never was
enough of this equipment to outfit everybody. Anything that was available last week is long gone now.
Not every city is represented, and these will only work for as long as the websites and/or the Internet are allowed to continue to operate. (NOW we
really know why Barry wanted his very own “Internet Kill Switch”, don’t we?)
If anyone doubts my math, please check it for me:
–Jack Foote, KE7FDZ
As a soldier, I see things a little differently than other folks sometimes.
Some folks might see an obstacle. Other folks might see an opportunity.
I see a natural choke point with flank security.