TEPCO came very close to overdosing two workers.

They were the “beta burn” workers, naturally.

The very first sentence of the report has a doozy of a mistake:

…workers at the crisis-hit facility had been exposed to radiation levels close to legal yearly limit of 250 millisieverts.

That is the emergency dose limit, not the yearly one!  I’d read somewhere that Japan’s is 100mSv, but don’t quote me.  Our absolute yearly limit is 50 mSv, most administrative limits are 20 mSv, and institutions are free to set limits even lower.  But our emergency “limit” is 500 mSv.

…internal and external radiation…two of its employees…exceeded 200 millisieverts. The reading for one of the men reached 240.8 millisieverts, while another received 226.6 millisieverts.

Whew.  Lucky, huh? 

TEPCO said it took about one month to measure their internal exposure levels.

Heh.  You can do a whole-body count, complete with calculations, in a lot less than a month.  I suspect what they were doing was “pencil whipping”.  This doesn’t mean falsifying records.  But you know how we always try to be conservative in our measurements and calculations?  That almost always gives some wiggle room when you’re flirting with a legal limit.  In my early NRC days we referred to that as pencil whipping.

Let’s say the first whole body count showed so much internal activity that calculations showed the workers over 250 mSv. total committed dose.  Gack!  However…that  committed dose is not yet actual dose.  So let’s dose ’em with iodine tablets and chelating agents, make them drink the hell out of some water, and do another whole body count in a week.  Hey, look!  Now the total dose is less than 250 mSv.

 There’s nothing illegal or immoral about doing this.  They’re on track for limit-busting doses if you don’t do something.  So you do what you can.  

These are the two workers that suffered, or were thought to have suffered, beta burns.  Remember there was a third one, wearing boots?  I’m sure all three inhaled some activity despite the respirators.  But the two high-dose boys got most of their internal activity through skin absorption.

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About wormme

I've accepted that all of you are socially superior to me. But no pretending that any of you are rational.
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