I don’t know about you guys, but most of the scientists I talk to think that nuclear radiation is generally a “bad thing” that should be avoided as much as possible. Particularly the kind that tends to result from the explosion of a nuclear bomb and most seem to think that it would be pretty important to do everything possible to cleanup an area where such a bomb had been detonated as thoroughly as possible lest the death toll climb due to residual radiation. So why then is the Homeland Security Department planning to recommend weaker cleanup standards in the event of a nuclear “dirty bomb” being set off by bad guys?
The department is preparing to unveil new recommendations that would “dramatically weaken requirements for cleaning up radioactive contamination from a terrorist radiological or nuclear explosive,” the groups said.
[…] At issue is a department “guidance” aimed at federal and state agencies that would be responsible for cleanups. The document also is expected to recommend an increase in the level of radiation considered safe for emergency response workers.
[…] The guidance proposes standards that are up to 2,500 times less protective than the risk levels considered by the EPA as acceptable for cleanup at radioactive sites, the groups said. The guidance would permit ongoing contamination levels after cleanup equal to tens of thousands of chest X-rays over 30 years, increasing latent cancer rates, the groups said.
“By permitting such high radiation levels to remain without cleanup, Homeland Security would actually be increasing the casualty count,” said Diane D’Arrigo, radioactive waste project director at Nuclear Information and Resource Service.
Wow, I’m feeling more secure all the time! Thanks a bunch, Homeland Security! It’s good to know that you’ve only got the highest standards in mind when responding to a major crisis!
This news item was originally posted back at the start of December, but I missed it until I came across it over at Mac’s blog.