A common sense primer on saving yourself from radiation poisoning

The writer of this article recalls two of the archetypes of nuclear poisoning: Chernobyl, and the film, “The China Syndrome.” At CAJ we were students during the Cold War and the possibility of being nuked to death by the Russians, either by way of Moscow or Havana, was permanently etched upon our young minds. At school, we were shown films of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to drive home the point, and urged to store tinned food in our back yard or basement fall-out shelters. The national Emergency Broadcast System (which replaced CONELRAD in the early 1960s) would run frequent tests over radio and television, and we knew what this symbol (below) meant when posted on the outside of local public buildings.

These days we worry less about being nuked by the Russians, or about our local nuclear plant melting down, and are much more concerned about a dirty bomb being released in one of our major U.S. cities. To us, that is a much more likely possibility, despite the sexy hype the Fukushima Daiichi plant is presently receiving. For that reason, we decided to post this article. ~CAJ

How To Save Yourself From Radiation Poisoning After A Nuclear Disaster

Business Insider

Joe Cirincione told Fox News that “The worst case scenario is that the fuel rods fuse together, the temperatures get so hot that they melt together in a radioactive molten mass that bursts through the containment mechanisms and is exposed to the outside. So they spew radioactivity in the ground, into the air, into the water. Some of the radioactivity could carry in the atmosphere to the West Coast of the United States.”

This is because the Fukushima plant contains a different, safer reactor than Chernobyl’s graphite-moderated reactor and the Ventana’s sodium-cooled reactor (based off the old experimental reactor in the Santa Susana Field Laboratory in the Simi Valley). The Fukushima plant houses boiling water reactors instead, with neutron moderators—it uses boiling water to cool the reactor.

Right now, there’s no need for panic, because radiation levels are currently falling at Fukushima, where workers are finally getting the plant under control. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be prepared in case this situation worsens—or for when the next nuclear disaster happens. There’s not much you can do to completely remove radiation from your person, but there are some things that can help lessen the risk of life-threatening radiation sickness…

Step 3 Remove Contaminants

When conducting relief efforts in Japan, U.S. helicopter crew members showed low levels of radioactivity. Even low levels could cause potential health risks in the long run. Cancers from radiation poisoning can take as long as 10 years to show up.

But after some quick reaction protocols, no further contamination was detected on the crew members. What did they do? Scrub.

When shortly exposed to radiation, it’s possible that you only sustained external contamination, not internal. And the best way to make sure it stays that way is to:

Take off all of your clothes (shirts, shoes, underwear… everything) and place them in secured plastic bags. Removing these items eliminates roughly 90% of external contamination…

Shower with soap and water, scrubbing hard to remove any possible radiation from the body. This helps with the remaining 10% of external contamination, and lowers the risk of you breathing, ingesting or being infected by harmful radiation particles…

That’s it. When it comes to being exposed to radiation, you should always, 1). get the hell out of there, and 2). decontaminate yourself…

Step 7 More Ways to Reduce the Risk of Contamination

If you can’t get a hold of Potassium Iodide tablets (Step 1), there are other simple techniques to be aware of to prevent or reduce thyroid damage. The Nuclear War Survival Skills (NWSS) by Cresson Kearny gives the following tips for accidents or nuclear war.

  • Do not drink or otherwise use fresh milk produced by cows that have consumed feed or water consequentially contaminated with fallout or other radioactive material resulting from a peacetime accident or from nuclear explosions in a war.
  • As a general rule, do not eat fresh vegetables until advised it is safe to do so. If under wartime conditions no official advice is obtainable, avoid eating fresh leafy vegetables that were growing or exposed at the time of fallout deposition; thoroughly wash all vegetables and fruits.
  • If a dangerously radioactive air mass is being blown toward your area and is relatively small (as from some possible nuclear power facility accidents), and if there is time, an ordered evacuation of your area may make it unnecessary even to take potassium iodide.
  • For protection against inhaled radioactive iodine, the FDA Final Recommendations (which are mentioned in the preceding section) state that the following measures “should be considered”: “..sheltering [merely staying indoors can significantly reduce inhaled doses], evacuation, respiratory protection, and/or the use of stable iodide.”…

Read the entire article at Business Insider

Related: At American Power, Legacy of Hiroshima Heightens Fears in Japan

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