[ RadSafe ] 10-4 good buddy, it's a 9/11 inspection

stewart farber radproject at sbcglobal.net
Fri Oct 13 12:44:30 CDT 2006

Hi Susan,
I've made a number of posts to radsafe over the past few years about the 
high content of Cs-137 from bomb test fallout in woodash. Actually, the 
highest activity in wood ash is from K salts with levels of K-40 averaging 
about  120,000 pCi K-40/kg ash. As I noted in my paper on this subject to 
the HPS Annual Meeting in the early 1990s titled:

"Cs-137 in Wood Ash -- Results of Nationwide Survey (or Woodburners and 
Organic Farmers --Is it time to 'Kiss Your Ash Goodbye'?)"

"woodash from Vermont during Colonial days was a major feedstock to the 
early US potash industry"

No surprise that a truckload  of potash set off some low-level rad monitors. 
Interesting and droll stuff. In some areas like the Northeastern part of 
Vermont they take truckloads of woodash from a 50 MW[e] woodburning power 
plant in VT [which yields about 3,000 m^3/year of woodash residual from 
burning trees from Vermont] and spread it on the fields of organic farming 
coops as a soil amendment. A truckload of this wood ash would undoubtedly 
set off rad monitors as well.

Stewart Farber, MS Public Health
The Prometheus Group, LLC
1285 Wood Ave.
Bridgeport, CT 06604
[203] 367-0791 [office]

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Susan Gawarecki" <loc at icx.net>
To: "Anderson County LEPC" <LEPC_Anderson at yahoogroups.com>; "RADSAFE" 
<radsafe at radlab.nl>
Sent: Friday, October 13, 2006 1:13 PM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] 10-4 good buddy, it's a 9/11 inspection

> 10-4 good buddy, it's a 9/11 inspection
> http://www.knoxnews.com/kns/state/article/0,1406,KNS_348_5061656,00.html
> October 12, 2006
> MONTEAGLE, Tenn. — State troopers and officials with a dozen other 
> agencies inspected trucks at 17 sites for hazardous materials in an 
> anti-terrorism exercise that authorities said could set standards for the 
> rest of the country.
> "It's the first simultaneous operation of this magnitude attempted by any 
> state in this country," Col. Mike Walker said of Wednesday's operation.
> At the brake check site on Monteagle Mountain, men huddled around a 
> portable radiation monitor as a truck filled with potash was checked when 
> it set off the radiation sensor.
> "They stopped me at the (U.S.-Canadian) border when I crossed there," said 
> truck driver Gerald Kehler, who was traveling from the Canadian province 
> of Manitoba to Tampa. "But they didn't open it up like they did here."
> Officials used a machine manufactured by NucSafe Inc. to detect any 
> radiation coming from trucks.
> "Our focus is to inspect overseas containers and hazardous materials 
> trucks and tankers," said THP Sgt. John Harmon, who coordinated the effort 
> at Monteagle. "Every truck that passes this site will be scanned for 
> radiological material or nuclear material."
> Many legal materials, like the load of potash, have low levels of 
> radiation that the machine can detect.
> "What we are trying to do is 'fingerprint' these substances so we can 
> reduce false positives," said Bill Richardson, an expert from Oak Ridge 
> National Laboratories who was at the inspection site. "After an officer 
> gets 10 or 20 hits like this, they are apt to let their guard down."
> The inspectors also checked the trucks for illegal explosives.
> Officer T.C. Vaughan of the Tuscaloosa, Ala., Police Department and his 
> bomb detection dog, Baco, circled more than two dozen rigs searching for 
> explosives. None were found.
> About 700 trucks were inspected in the first three hours of operation at 
> Monteagle. Total numbers for the 17 inspection sites won't be available 
> until Monday, state officials said.
> "This has never been done before," Harmon said. "We are setting the 
> standard for the rest of the country."
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