Checking the Big News sites to see what the millions of citizens are learning, compared to the thousand or two coming here.
Wow. Your guys’ knowledge will be much better than the general public’s. Here’s a Fox video, with a distinguished medical radiologist. The PPE’ed reporter appears to be wearing water-resistant tyvex and a painter’s mask.
So many things…first, comfort zones. The doctor is using the term “rads”. Rad stands for “radiation absorbed dose”. It is not the strictly proper term for human doses. That is “rem”, Roentgen Equivalent Man”.
What’s the difference? For the doctor, none. He uses medical x-rays and possibly collimated gamma sources, and their “QF”, quality factor, is one. Since the formula is “rem = rad x QF”, rem = rad x 1. And since the Fukushima workers are getting gamma radiation, you can get away with it. 100 rads = 100 rem (1 Sv). Non-lethal.
But if we had a monstrously strong Cf-252 source and gave a worker 100 rads of neutron dose? Presumably we’ve killed him. QFs for neutrons range from…oh crap, they revised the numbers a few months ago…
We didn’t give him 100 rem, we gave him 600 rem. Very likely he’ll die. If he doesn’t, that it’s because we’ve overestimated the RBE. Which is likely, because there’s not much data on massive neutron exposure that’s not accompanied by gamma as well.
Point is, that doctor is undoubtably a master in his field, and he’s getting the terms wrong. Because he’s not routinely working with protons, alpha particles, and neutrons.
Now, the painter’s mask. What The Face? I remember watching the Chernobyl workers running around with those on. But that was the Soviets. I cannot accept that the Japanese don’t have full-face respirators right up to SCBAs.
It takes longer to correct these things than it does to watch them. Apparently this will take a full post for every act of “journalism”.