[ RadSafe ] Sailors from the Ronald Reagan sueing TEPCO

Robert J. Gunter, CHP rjgunter at chpconsultants.com
Tue Jan 7 15:53:32 CST 2014

Doubtful they looked for radiation in their sampling.  I spent many an hour
running an evaporator.  The water is distilled, and the scale builds up on
the inside of the unit.  A quick scan of the scale on the evaporators would
tell the tale pretty quickly.  The scale would be on there for years at a
time.  You do descale the unit, but in my experience, it never looked like
much scale is removed.  In my 4 years on a submarine, we never replaced the
heating area of an evaporator, so it is likely still in place.  Mostly the
temperature of the evaporator is set so you don't have to worry about
biological contaminants.  Volatile chemicals would be extracted by a vacuum
system maintaining pressure in the evaporator and vented to atmosphere
eventually.  You don't typically run an evaporator in port (due to the
increased probability of contamination from fecal matter) or in areas where
you are worried about the water.  Permission is requested from the Officer
of the Deck (OOD - person driving the ship) who would make that
determination.  Not some guy in the engine room that feels like running an
evaporator.  Where you are when making water IS something that is paid
attention to.  So if you were in the effluent of the Mississippi river delta
for example, or anywhere near the shoreline you would not likely run your
evaporator.  Not running an evaporator usually means nobody gets a shower.
The Navy also has NBC protocols (they are built to respond and still operate
even if a nuclear strike is nearby) and would not run the evaporators if
there was an issue.

It has been said "the solution to pollution is dilution".  The ocean is a
big place to dilute any Cs-137 content.

I really have no idea if they drank or showered in contaminated water.  It
does seem unlikely.  If they showered in it, they drank it too.  The systems
are not isolated.  You drink and shower in potable water (there may be a
gray water system for toilets using sea water).

Robert J. Gunter, MSc, CHP
CHP Consultants/CHP Dosimetry
Toll Free: (888) 766-4833
Fax:  (866) 491-9913 
Cel:  (865) 387-0028
rjgunter at chpconsultants.com

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu
[mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of Brennan, Mike
Sent: Monday, December 23, 2013 6:05 PM
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) MailingList
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Sailors from the Ronald Reagan sueing TEPCO


I read something about this earlier.  The contention is that the sailors
were exposed because contaminated water was taken into the ship's water
system, and the sailors drank it and bathed in it.  

I was in the Navy for a fair time, and while I was never stationed on the
RR, I am pretty confident they do not drink or bath in sea water; I know
that I didn't on any of the ships I was on.  Furthermore, I feel pretty
confident the evaporator and/or distillation systems used on the RR would
not pass many contaminates through.  Finally, give the size of the Rad Shop
on a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, I would bet money that there was some
sampling and analysis of water both before and after it was made potable.  
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