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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  289 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Russian nuclear agency confirms role in rocket test explosion

The n of any nuclear exposure research is much smaller than we can really use. Yeah, we nuked the shit out of Hiroshima and Nagasaki but (A) those were acute exposure events (B) a whole lot more people are alive than we figured would be. Chernobyl turned out to have much lighter long-term effects than we anticipated, too. Which doesn't mean things are great and that caution should be thrown to the wind, but it does mean that all the harum scarum boogeyman-shaking that tends to be practiced by anyone talking about nuclear stuff will always have a small asterisk at the end of it.

Know what a downwinder is? My dad.

Not according to the DOE, of course. He didn't even know it until I pointed it out to him. Dude used to keep plutonium above the fridge (I didn't even know it until I got into an argument about DU rounds in Iraq). His dad, who was in the 1-5 Roentgen contour with him, lived to 96.

Lemme know if you wanna hear a "funny" story about a truck driver and a rad detector.

kingmudsy  ·  288 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Lemme know if you wanna hear a "funny" story about a truck driver and a rad detector.

Holy shit yes

kleinbl00  ·  288 days ago  ·  link  ·  

So okay. My dad got an engineering degree. That ended up with him doing some... stuff for the nuclear medicine program at Lovelace Medical Center (pronounced "loveless") in Albuquerque. Lovelace is mostly famous for being the place the Mercury 7 were run through a bunch of bullshit tests; it features prominently in The Right Stuff. They also had a vivarium with a bunch of chimps ("throwing shit ain't nuthin', we had one there who knew that if he really wanted to get a reaction outta you all he had to do was pop a turd in his mouth and squeeze it out through his teeth like toothpaste") and they also had a bunch of isotopes.

Anyway. "fun with isotopes" kinda became my dad's bag. And he was fond of explaining how shitty radiation monitoring equipment in general tends to be because, well, radiation monitoring equipment was pretty much his job. I know he spent six months in Thule. I don't quite know why.

Silkwood was on TV once and he started talking about how shitty the rad counters were because he'd worked with them. Apparently at some point early on his job was to check trucking for exposure as it came into and out of Lovelace. And he was screening a truck driver and the counter in his hand went WHEEEEEEP!

The driver, of course, panicked. Truck was fine, it was the driver. Dude was immediately hustled into a shower, stripped down. Wasn't his clothes. Showered like crazy. Came back out, my dad waved the wand, WHEEEEEEP!

Shit ain't funny now. Driver is scrubbing like he hates his skin. Turning pink. Gotta get whatever it is off of him before it goes internal and gets really sketchy. Comes back out, haunted eyes, WHEEEEEEEP!

About this time everyone's freaking out. Except my dad. My dad is messing around with the rad counter. He holds up the handpiece. realizes that while the position the rad counter is in has been changing every time it alarms, the angle he's been holding it at has not. So he holds it at that angle and moves it around the tarmac. Sure enough, right about when a shaft of sunlight hits the split between the cover and the handpiece, WHEEEEEEP!

My dad starts laughing. I'm six. "Did the truck driver want to kill you?"

"He was too busy being glad he was alive," my dad said, chuckled heartily, and cracked another beer.

kingmudsy  ·  287 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    "...all he had to do was pop a turd in his mouth and squeeze it out through his teeth like toothpaste."

Cool! Disgusting! Wow!

Project Iceworm seems like the exact type of irresponsible shit I've come to expect from the USA in the 60's. I particularly like the part about ecological impact:

    When the camp was decommissioned in 1967, its infrastructure and waste were abandoned under the assumption they would be entombed forever by perpetual snowfall. A 2016 study found that the portion of the ice sheet covering Camp Century will start to melt by the year 2100, if current trends continue. When the ice melts, the camp’s infrastructure, as well as any remaining biological, chemical and radioactive waste, will re-enter the environment and potentially disrupt nearby ecosystems.

Holy fuck, that trucker story. Your dad sounds like a real character. I almost love your description of how he told the story more than the story itself! I can't imagine how shook that trucker felt driving away from him.

As far as "False-Alarm Nuclear Accidents" go, this is a pretty funny one :)

Fuck am I glad that my lifestyle never puts me in contact with highly radioactive material. Everything you've shared in this thread could come straight from a horror film.

kingmudsy  ·  288 days ago  ·  link  ·  
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