Well, that’s unfair. MG provided a link to the latest nuclear response in Japan. I don’t see where any mistakes were made. Even the reporting appears competent(!) Old containers of radium paint are some of the hottest sources that unsuspecting folks can harbor.
At 1 meter from the bottles, the reading was 20 microsieverts per hour,
20 uSv/h equals 2 mrem/h, which is exactly the point at which we post an “RBA”, a Radiological Buffer Area. Anyone with radiological training and a thermoluminescent dosimeter (TLD) can enter and work in such an area. But we post areas at 30cm from a source, not 1 meter. So this lady definitely had a Radiation Area in her house, which is 5 mrem/h or 50 uSv/h. We step up our controls at that point.
Over the decades this lady probably picked up close to 2 Sv, or 200 rem, from this hidden source. By comparison, I’ve picked up 0.08 Sv or 8 rem, in a quarter-century of nuke work. So, that poor woman. That poor, poor, 90-year old woman.
Did you guys know the Boy Scouts used to award badges for nuclear/radiation knowledge? What could go wrong with encouraging inventive American teenage boys to develop practical nuclear skills?
I’ve read part of the book, not all. The kid was in the habit of keeping his Geiger counter on when travelling about, because he’d learned there’s a surprising number of sources out there. His encounter with a reservoir of radium paint came when he was driving past an antique shop and the meter responded. Inside, he traced the source to a vial of radium paint within a clock.
I don’t believe the U.S. has had a fatal occupational dose in decades. And the last of them have come from radiography screwups, not radium paint. But because rad work has gotten so safe, Ra-226 will probably always be the greatest industrial killer, at least of Americans.