[ RadSafe ] US carrier fought contamination while aiding Japan

Cary Renquist cary.renquist at ezag.com
Fri Mar 25 16:20:34 CDT 2011

US carrier fought contamination while aiding Japan - KNDO/KNDU
Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA 


Powell was quick to point out that contamination levels were never
anywhere close to what could be considered dangerous, emphasizing that
no one on the ship was exposed to even half the radiation from a chest
X-ray. "I would say not even a tenth," he added.
For Powell, the main challenge was all the uncertainty.
"I knew that we were OK as far as what we had hit, but it's just like,
'What the hell happened and what's gonna happen again?'" he said.
Soon the ship's entire reactor department got involved, setting up a
central area, or "brain," with computers to funnel information to a
single spot in a conference room, he said.
"We weren't panicking or freaking out," Powell said of himself and other
officers familiar with the effects of radiation. "We were just trying to
get a handle on what we had."
The cheery third-generation Navy man from Austin, Texas, studied nuclear
engineering and physics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New
York. His knowledge of radiation and how it works gave him a keen edge
over most of the Reagan's crew members not familiar with the frightening
prospect of radioactive contamination.
Keeping a smile on his face was important as he worked to assuage the
fears of the crew, who were seeing news reports about contamination that
were scaring them and their families back home, he said.
Keeping "the human side" under control was important, Powell said.

Cary.renquist at ezag.com

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