[ RadSafe ] Panel wants tighter radiation security

Cindy Bloom radbloom at comcast.net
Wed Oct 17 11:52:02 CDT 2007

So many things to worry about, control, fix... this hardly seems to rate in 
the top 100.  It also seems odd the Cs-137 would be singled out.

The ICRP's writings on optimization of radiation usage have always struck 
me as sensible - consideration of all risks, benefits and costs  to 
individuals and society are weighed to determine the reasonableness of an 
action.  Although I have not reviewed details of any analysis of Cs-137 
irradiator security, my first thought is that the discussion presented is 
short sighted and does not consider energy usage, shielding and interlock 
redesigns, training changes, waste storage/disposal, etc.  The cost for 
small businesses, hospitals and researchers to purchase replacement 
equipment might be prohibitive.  As a potential (direct or indirect) 
consumer, I'm pretty sure this is not how I want to have businesses, health 
care organizations and researchers spend money.

Regarding risk, my sense is that Cs-137 is one of the more readily 
detectable materials; its moderately long half-life doesn't appear to be a 
negative, as this allows for more realistic exposure and hazard assessment, 
which would (one hopes) result in more efficient emergency response 
activities if they were ever needed (and here's to hoping such response 
never will be needed).

At 05:08 PM 10/9/2007 -0700, Sandy Perle wrote:
>Ridiculous or WHAT!!!
>Panel wants tighter radiation security
>WASHINGTON (AP) Oct 9 - The U.S. government should replace more than
>1,000 irradiation machines used in hospitals and research facilities
>because terrorists could use the radioactive materials inside to make
>a "dirty" bomb, a government advisory panel has concluded.
>"Any one of these 1,000-plus sources could shut down 25 square
>kilometers, anywhere in the United States, for 40-plus years,"
>according to panel documents obtained by The Associated Press.
>The machines are in relatively unprotected locations such as
>hospitals and research facilities all over the country, and may be a
>tempting source of radioactive materials for terrorists who want
>bombs that explode and disperse radioactive debris over a large area,
>rendering it uninhabitable, the board found.
>The irradiators contain Cesium-137, one of the most dangerous and
>long-lasting radioactive materials. They are used for radiation
>therapy and to sterilize blood and food.
>Swapping the Cesium irradiators for X-ray machines or irradiators
>that use other materials would cost about $200 million over five
>years, but it would take the most accessible source of dangerous
>radioactive material inside the United States "off the table" for
>terrorists, the panel says.
>The recommendation is part of an as-yet-unreleased report that
>describes how unfriendly nations or terrorist groups could undermine
>the computers and satellites the U.S. military relies on and attack
>the United States with radiological or biological weapons or
>blackmail the U.S. government with a threat of a nuclear detonation,
>all while manipulating world opinion against the United States in the
>media and on the Internet.
>The report comes from the Defense Science Board, a panel of retired
>military and CIA officials and defense industry experts who offer the
>Pentagon possible solutions to actual and potential national security
>problems. It is expected to be released late this year.
>The board wants the Pentagon to create a joint military force able to
>locate and seize illicit nuclear materials and weapons when they are
>still in transit, and to safely destroy nuclear weapons captured from
>terrorists or defeated states.
>It says U.S. intelligence has failed to determine what countries or
>groups are developing or trying to obtain nuclear, radiological and
>biological weapons and how and when they are likely to use them.
>"No adversary can exercise all options; but we don't know which
>options they can exercise," the documents state.
>The report recommends creating "unfettered X-treme intelligence
>teams" to improve the "poor intelligence community posture." Exactly
>what the teams would do is classified.
>The board advocates diplomacy and trying to influence world opinion
>so the United States is less likely to be attacked or lured into a
>foreign war it might not win.
>"We are unprepared," state the documents. "At best we will be
>deterred. Worse, we will enter the fray and then quit when we
>appreciate the cost of success. Instruments of national power other
>than the military, such as strategic communication, will assume
>greater importance."
>The U.S government should be promoting universally accepted values
>like human dignity, economic well-being, health care and education
>rather than "democracy" and "freedom," the panel states.
>"What we say is often not what others may hear __ concepts such as
>'democracy,' 'rule of law' and 'freedom' have different meanings in
>different cultures and at different stages of their development," the
>documents state. "It is about them, not only about us."
>It recommends that the State Department spend $250 million over five
>years to create an independent "Center for Global Engagement" to
>conduct opinion research and analyses on media and culture that the
>government can use to design projects and messages that will advance
>those values.
>It also recommends deploying more hospital ships for medical and
>humanitarian relief; releasing spy imagery to help other countries in
>crop management, weather forecasting, and environmental studies; and
>adopting policies that will help create jobs in key strategic nations
>such as Lebanon, Pakistan and Iraq.
>Sander C. Perle
>Global Dosimetry Solutions, Inc.
>2652 McGaw Avenue
>Irvine, CA 92614
>Tel: (949) 296-2306 / (888) 437-1714 Extension 2306
>Fax:(949) 296-1144
>E-Mail: sperle at dosimetry.com
>E-Mail: sandyfl at cox.net
>Global Dosimetry Website: http://www.dosimetry.com/
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