[ RadSafe ] Re: radsafe Digest, Vol 229, Issue 4

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Thu Jan 7 15:33:08 CST 2010

Hi, Ed.

As a former AWEPS on a boomer, my background in nuclear weapons is with
the ones that maximize blast for the weight, and I've always been
curious about enhanced neutron weapons.  How big a yield are we talking
about for such a weapon?  What range from ground zero do you expect to
get 5 Gy, and 1 Gy?   

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl [mailto:radsafe-bounces at radlab.nl] On
Behalf Of Tupin.Edward at epamail.epa.gov
Sent: Thursday, January 07, 2010 12:38 PM
To: radsafe at radlab.nl
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Re: radsafe Digest, Vol 229, Issue 4


The issue at hand, as Jim Hardeman noted, is the potentially large
number of people exposed to radiation from fallout and possibly those
exposed to neutron and other prompt radiation from a very low yield
nuclear device (one in which the range of neutrons exceeds the blast

The interest is in separating people into three categories:  Those with
doses less than 1 Gy (100 rad); those with doses from 1 Gy (100 rad )to
5 Gy (500 rad); and those with doses  in excess of 5 Gy (500 rad).  I
use absorbed dose units here deliberately, as the issue is acute doses,
and the radiation weighting factors used for chronic worker dose
calculations are not appropriate.

The Interest is in identifying those in the middle group of the three
above.  These individuals will most likely be ill with acute radiation
syndrome.  Prompt and proper medical care will enable most of them to
survive.  Those in the low dose group will recover with minimal medical
attention.  However, many of them may mimic symptoms of radiation
sickness (nausea and vomiting) from stress or other non-radiation
causes.  Those with doses above 5 Gy have limited ability to survive
without heroic medical intervention, which may not be possible with
large numbers of victims.

Thus the emphasis on a rapid, simple method of determining doses using
biological markers.

Edward A. Tupin, MS, CHP
tupin.edward at epa.gov
Health Physicist
Center for Radiological Emergency Management
US Environmental Protection Agency  6608J
Washington, DC 20460
office: (202) 343-9383
cell: (202) 253-8206

Disclaimer:  this represents my personal opinion and is not the opinion
of the USEPA or the US Government.

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