Just how much does the government know about the Fukishima radiation fallout and preparation for other intentional or accidental nuclear incidents?
Currently the government, academia, and industry coordinate under private-public partnerships. These partnerships include mapping and monitoring sophisticated capabilities. A contaminated area which is a threat to human health is referred to as the DFZ. This area is mapped out. Each DFZ has a unique footprint. In the case of Fukishima, international and national guidelines went into effect within hours of the event, although in every event there are learning experiences and failure to follow procedures. The official government statement is that large radioactive particles settle within 1-2 hours and a DFZ is generally established extending 20 miles down-wind in a keyhole pattern initially.
Many cities and counties have radiological monitoring equipment and are monitoring radiation levels but are refusing to release these readings to the public. Some jurisdictions rely on Department of Energy (DOE) dose readings. The DOE is also very quiet on radiation readings following Fukishima. This report clearly stated, “Knowing the actual fallout footprint and radiation dose levels can vastly improve guidance about where to locate response staging areas, which residents need to evacuate, how soon, which routes present the lowest possible dose, and when and where residents may eventually return.” But governments around the world are keeping the public in the dark about current radiation levels.
Long before any incident occurred cities, counties and states had partnered with federal agencies who have provided plans, training, equipment, money, and assistance with any radiological event. The NCRP, http://www.ncrppublications.org/, provides detailed reports on radiological procedure that are used by the federal government and partners.
Within 15 minutes of the Fukishima episode the Interagency Modeling and Atmospheric Assessment Center (IMAAC) led by Homeland Security and the DOE began plume and fallout projections and provided these maps to federal, state, and local authorities but not the public who is paying these public servants for information. The IMAAC constantly refines their mapping over time. Within 72 hours the Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center (FRMAC) maps the radiological event. The DOE provides radiological assistance teams.
After an event is when the “plan” calls for taking a survey of monitoring staff, equipment, dosimeters, personal protective equipment, and plans for surges in medical sector. We have a medical contact in Western Washington who was contacted by Homeland Security shortly after Fukishima demanding an inventory of all products containing iodine. One might wonder if they were that concerned to contact each physician’s office why did they not alert the public in any way?
It may be that there is fear within the government that precious equipment and personnel will be in high demand over a broad area siphoning money from existing programs. This is actually addressed by a multitude of Mutual Aid Agreements. Fukishima provides an excellent case to recruit and register radiological health professionals into the burgeoning federalized “volunteer” force.
The American National Standards Institute is developing performance criteria for Personal Emergency Radiation Detectors (PERDs). While the following sound good these devices will be utilizing the new higher level radiation safety indicators. There are two standards:
- Alarming Electronic Personal Emergency Radiation Detectors (PERDs) for Exposure Control (ANSI N42.49A) are alarming electronic radiation measurement instruments used to manage exposure by alerting the emergency responders when they are exposed to photon radiation;
- (2) Nonalarming Personal Emergency Radiation Detectors (PERDs) for Exposure Control (ANSI N42.49B) are ionizing photon radiation–measuring detectors that provide a visual indication of the exposure to the user and are designed to be worn or carried on the body of the user.
Never let a good crisis go to waste. It is suggested that regions establish networks of “tracking groups” that is people who are practiced and trained in compiling radiological data and knowing where to seek information. Be wary of participation in this type of group.
The “plan” calls for prompt release of plume maps via broadcast media and social media to reassure the public and support protective actions. Here is a stunning example of dismal failure by the government and partners. Not only are they not releasing fallout mapping information, they are denying there is any fallout altogether. This is one reason each family or community should have their own radiological monitoring equipment and not rely on official statements. If you wait for official statements you have just reduced your chance of survival.
Doppler weather radar may also be tracking fallout clouds as they pass across America. Stations may tap this resource as part of the region’s plume mapping endeavor and to train producers, meteorologists, and broadcast announcers in how to put out government messaging statements regarding fallout.
This is a direct quote from this report, “Because images are powerful communicators, plume maps should be released without delay, to alert people to the presence—and, equally important, the absence—of a risk; to prevent possible exposure to fallout; and to avoid self-evacuation when it is unnecessary and when it may be harmful.”
Right now a network of automated radiation monitors is at work documenting radiation fallout readings. Whether you get this information or not depends on our out of control government. In the future, you may well be mandated to host radiation equipment if you are in a strategic location. This equipment is expensive at $140,000 for 10 units. In Los Angeles the “plan” is to use radiation meters and drive around to different locations and send the reports via the cellular networks so as not to crash the radio infrastructure.
What can you do?
The best thing you can do to up your chance of survival is to secure your own radiation equipment and monitor fallout for yourself. You might want to educate yourself on fallout from old civil defense manuals and books written on the topic. Do not relay on new standards but use old standards to evaluate radiation threats.