[ RadSafe ] Battle for Chernobyl

Raymond A Hoover ray2hoover at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 3 18:08:43 CDT 2007

Although others have already commented let me throw my two rubles in on this.  
  During the two years I worked at the site I got to talk to a number of the people who were there during the accident.  According to those people dose measurements frequently consisted of sending a bunch of liqidators onto the roof where they worked for a set time (brooms and shovels) and then left.  In the Soviet Union workers had a book which was their dose records (their was also a site dose book).  When the wokers came down off the roof their dose records were updated.  For many of the workers that meant they were told they had a 600 mrem dose, which was the maximum daily limit.  No meters or TLDs.  It is not clear to me if there was any attempt to measure uptakes.  
  I do know that when I was there the internal dosimetry program consisted of a sodium iodide detector.  I never heard of a positive hit.  When I left we were working to implement a real internal dosimetry program.  
  As for records, according to the folks I talked to there are no records.  People were brought in from all over the Soviet Union and then returned to their points of origin.  When the Soviet Union broke up, what records they had got lost.  When I was there, there were a lot of people who were arguing with the Ukrainian government over whether they were liqidators or not and whether they were eligable for help.
  Protective equipment  consisted of a gauze mask (lepostok-500 I think), canvas outerwear, and rubber boots.  I had a conversation one time with the head of the local fire department and I asked him what they used for repiratory protectioin and he said a lepostok.  I then asked him what they would use if there was an accident that day he again said the Lepostok and gave me a couple as souveniers.  We eventually bought about 500 portable air respirators, but the head of saafety gave them to the fire department because he felt the lepostok was fine.  
  In other words no one knows who got how much of a dose while working as a liqidator.  And collective dose estimates are just that, estimates made on a best engineering estimate.  With very large error bars.
  The Ukrainian goverment was claiming high numbers of deaths and injuries, but I have no idea where they got the numbers or what the basis of those numbers were.  I also do not remember any pictures of poilots at the Chernobyl museum in Kiev.  If you get a chance its an interesting visit.
  The official number of people who died immediately after the accident is around 31, I think.  By the way two of those were operators to left the control room to try to deal with the accident as it was developing.  Their bodies were never found.  Most of the anti-nuc organizations get their numbers by estimating total collective dose and then multiply the collective dose by the accepted probability of cancer per unit dose.

"Conklin, Al (DOH)" <Al.Conklin at DOH.WA.GOV> wrote:
  I was also taken in by the joke until I got through about twenty
e-mails. Glad its not true.

Anyway, last week on Public Television, there was a program that I
believe was titled Battle for Chernobyl. It was very interesting, and
has probably been on before, but I missed it. In it, they stated that 60
helicopter pilots died, and 2500 "liquidators" have died, all of effects
from the exposures they received, and that 40% of all liquidators are
now on disability, due to their exposures. They also stated that these
are undocumented, but reported doses to most in the hundreds of Rem.
Now, knowing the media as I do, these numbers are suspect, but do any of
you have a firmer number? I've always heard only 31 died originally of
acute radiation sickness (29 fire fighters and two operators, I think),
but if the reported doses are true, I would expect more, but not the
tens of thousands reported by Greenpeace and others. There is also the
reported problem of unreliability of record keeping by the old Soviet
I try to keep current for any questions that come up during my training,
so I would appreciate any help or references. Thanks.

Allen W. Conklin
Lead Trainer & Health Physicist
Radiological Preparedness Section
Office of Radiation Protection
Department of Health
Town Center 2, 111 Israel Rd.
P.O. Box 47827
Olympia WA 98504-7827
office (360) 236-3261
cell (360) 239-1237
fax (360) 236-2255
> Public Health -- Always working for a healthier and safer Washington.
You are currently subscribed to the RadSafe mailing list

Before posting a message to RadSafe be sure to have read and understood the RadSafe rules. These can be found at: http://radlab.nl/radsafe/radsaferules.html

For information on how to subscribe or unsubscribe and other settings visit: http://radlab.nl/radsafe/

TV dinner still cooling?
Check out "Tonight's Picks" on Yahoo! TV.

More information about the RadSafe mailing list