[ RadSafe ] Contamination Monitor and Radon History

Stewart Farber radproject at sbcglobal.net
Mon Sep 11 14:29:26 CDT 2006

>>> "Redmond, Randy (RXQ)" <redmondrr at y12.doe.gov> 09/08/06 12:15 PM wrote:

This is a pretty common problem and is due to radon progeny. 
Polyester pants and hardhats are particularly bad.  Spraying with static guard
prior to entry helps.  
  Hi all,
  An interesting and important part of environmental radiation/radiation protection/nuclear plant history regarding radon daughter tendencies to attach to nylon jackets.
  My recollections of this story as it played out around 1981 or so: 
  Prior to the start-up of Limerick Station, a plant worker [Stanley --last name Polish sounding: "Wisnowski" perhaps] was exiting the plant and set off an exit portal monitor. He was surveyed by plant HPs and it was found there were substantial levels of contamination on his nylon windbreaker.  The plant was not operating and this worker had not been near any type of potential  radioactive contamination. 
  After detailed evaluation, it was documented that this worker had come into the plant that morning with substantially higher levels of radon contamination [average half life of daughters about 30 min so decay of contamination on his jacket had gone thru 16 half lives!!! while still alarming exit portal monitor]. Surveys were done at the workers home and it was found that airborne radon levels and surface contamination from radon daughters was extremently high.
  After this first event at Limerick, the State of Pennsylvania first realized and documented the importance of the existance of what came to be called the "Redding Prong" an anomolous area of extremely elevated U-238 content in granitic rocks and soil in an extensive area which led to Rn-222 ingress to homes via cracks and well water in some cases. 
  After this event, awareness of the potential for elevated radon levels in homes reached regulatory and public "concern".
  "The past is prologue" as the Bard once wrote.
  Stewart Farber, MS Public Health
  email [new]:  radproject at sbcglobal.net
  203 367-0791 [office]
  203 522-2817 [cell]


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