[ RadSafe ] MythBusters
Boomologist at GotHotRocks.com
Tue Jan 8 12:41:36 CST 2008
Looks like the news article didn't make it through so here is the article in text format from the Spokesman Review dated October 20, 2007 which describes what they did at Hanford.
'Mythbusters' tests roaches at Hanford
Would bugs survive nuclear holocaust?
RICHLAND - Can you save yourself by jumping in a falling elevator?
Is a penny dropped from the top of the Empire State Building lethal?
Would cockroaches survive a nuclear holocaust that killed everything else?
The final question is being tested this week at the nearby Hanford Nuclear Reservation
by a team from the "Mythbus-ters" show on the Discover}' Channel,
which expects to air the episode in about four months.
"It's been on the original list of myths since day one," said Kari Byron, who appears
on the cable television series and was in town with Grant Imahara and Tory Belled for the tests.
The crew is using an irradiator in the basement of Hanford's 318 Building just
north of Richland. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory usually uses the device
to calibrate dosimeters, which measure radiation exposure to humans and animals,
and to check for radiation damage of video cameras, fiber optic cables and other equipment.
Lab operators agreed to the research for purposes of science education and workers
donated their time, in some cases using part of their vacation allotments.
On Thursday afternoon, Byron and Imahara were cramming their uncooperative critters
into 3 specially built roach condo to be exposed in the irradiater.
"I had to put myself in quite the mind-set to do it," Byron said.
A scientific supply company sent 200 cockroaches for the tests, "all laboratory-grade,
farm fresh," Imahara said. A control group of 5O will get no radiation, 50 others will
be exposed to 1,000 rads, a lethal load of radiation for humans, 50 will be exposed
to 10,000 rads and the last SO to 100,000 rads.
The bugs will be watched over the next couple of weeks to see how soon they die.
"Contrary to popular belief, not a significant amount of research goes into cockroach
radiation," Imahara said. Flour beetles and fruit flies, also being irradiated for
comparison, were a snap compared with the cockroaches, which did not take well to
being corralled within a tiny block arrangement designed to make sure each bug gets
the same dosage. "They are very fast. They are very aggressive. They want to get away,"
Byron said. "They are opportunists."
The surviving bugs get a chauffeured ride back to San Francisco. A "Mythbusters"
employee has been detailed to drive them because airlines won't let them in the
passenger cabin and they can't be placed in the baggage hold without wrecking the experiment.
"We have to maintain reasonable temperature and humidity so they don't go into shock," Imahara said.
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