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DOE particle assumptions, Hanford
July ***2018
Here’s What Happened When The Government Lost Control Of The Biggest Nuclear Cleanup In The US
“This is 2018. We shouldn't still be contaminating people with plutonium,” said a worker at the Hanford site in eastern Washington....The DOE also quietly conducted a more detailed analysis that suggests worker exposure to the plutonium may have been worse than anybody thought. The report, which had not been made public until now, was obtained by BuzzFeed News through a records request to the Washington Department of Health.
The DOE analysis looked at 15 hot samples collected before Jan. 18. Three of these, including two found on the outside of vehicles, included particles of plutonium small enough to be inhaled. That trio had “alpha” radiation levels, one of the more intense and dangerous types of radioactivity, of more than 10,000 disintegrations per minute, the report found. (If 10,000-dpm-level radiation is found on clothing, it would probably prompt testing, like a shit kit; if detected in someone’s body, they would need to see a doctor or even be quarantined.)
When alpha radiation levels ranging from 2,000 dpm to 12,000 dpm were spotted near an office trailer and on a nearby worker’s boot on Dec. 18, the area was immediately locked down for more surveying.
“The evidence shows that these specks” — as Hanford officials have referred to them in press releases — “are more dangerous than I had thought possible,” Kaltofen said. “Accidental ingestion or inhalation of these hot plutonium particles would have potentially deadly health consequences.”
Kaltofen’s own results found lower, though still dangerous, levels of contamination inside two cars. In a phone call with the car owners, Kaltofen recalled, he described the significance of the results: “I would not let my own kid drive this car for five seconds.”
Hanford’s annual limit for workers handling radioactive material is 500 millirems (yet another unit of radioactivity), and 100 mrem for other workers. Bo-J and the 10 others contaminated in December had far lower exposures — 20 mrem or less. Hanford officials say their test results were “conservative,” but Kaltofen and other radiation experts aren’t so sure.
Robert Alvarez, who used to work on this issue at the Energy Department, said the DOE is using mathematical models that assume workers are being exposed to a “simple oxide” particle and not the more dangerous “high-fired oxide” particle.
Plutonium and americium take a long time to break down (a plutonium-239 particle’s potency halves every 24,065 years, an americium-241 particle every 432 years, and a plutonium-238 every 87 years). That means if they get lodged in your lung or bone, they will go on radiating for decades, Alvarez said, and high-fired oxides will radiate more intensely. So if the DOE’s particle assumption is wrong, its models could be underreporting contamination.
The DOE’s analysis did not include the key tests for determining how dangerous the particles are, said Alvarez, now a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC. “It’s a very odd paper,” he said. “It doesn’t answer the question … are these or are these not high-fired particles?” (The DOE did not respond to questions about these technical concerns.)
Last fall, after the June contamination event at Hanford but before the December one, Alvarez met with the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, an independent arm of the government that offers advice to the Energy Department on its nuclear programs. He brought up Hanford and, “in my own polite way, read them the riot act.”
“How can you stand by and allow 31 workers to receive internal exposure to plutonium?” he recalled saying to the board, which did not respond to a request for comment. “What’s wrong with you?” They didn’t say much of anything in response, he added. “I found this to be particularly egregious.”


Quote:Robert Alvarez, who used to work on this issue at the Energy Department, said the DOE is using mathematical models that assume workers are being exposed to a “simple oxide” particle and not the more dangerous “high-fired oxide” particle.

...high-fired oxides will radiate more intensely

Imagine that, all Plutonium hot particles aren't the same.  Well, I'm glad Alvarez read them the riot act.  Little good it does when nukers are purposely hiding the danger, the risks, from the public.
"The map is not the territory that it is a map of ... the word is not the thing being referred to."
“I found this to be particularly egregious.”

They made a model, sold it in a bottle
The majority accepted, now we're all throttled
So many levels, a bunch of invisible devils
They got measurements, we get ingested death fits
They got units, we get A toZ when reactors puke it
It's for free electric, don't be a heretic
It's all just background, why don't you just go underground
Institutionally vetted, no need to check the bedding
In between the sheets, they are rolling with the creeps
They opened the bottle, cancer is the new lotto
They've made it their motto
Jebus contribution from the ENE web.archive. org

Former Hanford doctor ‘under duress' to disregard worker safety Feb 2017
In 30 years of medical practice, Dr. Loren Lewis of Spokane said he’s never seen tactics like those used at Hanford.

Instead of putting worker safety as priority number one at the former nuclear weapons complex, the occupational medicine expert said he felt “forced and under duress to…manipulate a medical policy” he wasn’t comfortable with.

From 2004 to 2006, Lewis was the top medical professional at the site, the Site Occupational Medical Director (SOMD). As per federal regulation, he was legally and ethically responsible for overseeing medical policy and programs for the 11,000 workers at the site. As SOMD, he was an employee of a federal government contractor, AdvanceMed Hanford.

Lewis said his supervisors at AdvanceMed Hanford and officials they reported to at the U.S. Department of Energy pressured him to abandon his adherence to the federal regulations and loosen medical policy as it related to keeping workers safe from a highly toxic metal at the site called beryllium.

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