CBS: Nuclear scare on board Chicago metro train — Elite VIPR team detects “high isotope reading” on luggage — Man emitting radiation (VIDEO)

Published: March 17th, 2013 at 6:33 pm ET
By

18 comments


Title: VIDEO: Feds Swarm Metra Train After Detecting Nuclear Risk
Source: CBS Chicago
Reporter: Dave Savini
Date: March 15, 2013
h/t Anonymous tip
Emphasis Added

“Chicago commuters were stunned — A nuclear scare on board a Chicago metro train just last night.”

It was stunning for those who watched Thursday night as federal agents investigated a possible nuclear threat at Chicago’s Ogilvie Transportation Center. […]

VIPR teams were created after the 2004 bombing of a train in Madrid, Spain, to protect U.S. transportation. […]

Little did [Jerry Jones, a Chicago lawyer] know a nuclear stress test he had at a hospital earlier in the day had set off silent alarms and sent security scurrying.

The TSA team passed by him several times before ending up on his train car. Finally, he got a clue when an agent questioned the man right next to him and asked, ‘Sir, do you have an explanation as to why I am getting a high isotope reading on your bag?’” […]

The tests can leave patients emitting radiation for some time. […]

Patients undergoing nuclear testing can request a card they can give to security if they travel afterward. […]

The man was made aware his bag had a “high isotope reading” before taking it home. What about the other people who sit near someone that had a recent ‘nuclear test’ and end up unknowingly taking radioactive luggage into their home?

Watch the report here

Published: March 17th, 2013 at 6:33 pm ET
By

18 comments

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18 comments to CBS: Nuclear scare on board Chicago metro train — Elite VIPR team detects “high isotope reading” on luggage — Man emitting radiation (VIDEO)

  • guezilla

    These false alarms from medical procedures seem to happen all the time. The primary reason is that a properly constructed nuclear weapon would give off almost no radiation (before exploding), so the nuclear scanners in use are detecting very small amounts of radiation. This has often lead to the criticism of "What's the use if you can't tell apart kitty litter and atom bomb". Needless to say, since they're still bothering following up on those and fining the source, it's quite effective, and more advanced detectors are able to tell a lot from the beginning. Newertheless it always makes a good human interest story for the local newspapers…

    Still, something like this may be in order: http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Womens_Health_Watch/2010/October/radiation-risk-from-medical-imaging
    Note that the figures for the dose cited often vary widely. http://hps.org/publicinformation/ate/q7251.html for example claims around 10mSv.

    They should of course be noting (like every medicine information sheet I've seen) that no medication is without side-effects; in this case I believe it's for the patient to decide if the side-effects are worth it. Where it goes to the 40mSv range I would seriously consider taking such a test even if it meant risking a heart attack later on. On the other hand if you were around 70+ the risks somewhat flip around.

  • guezilla

    The isotopes that are meant to be used for internal nuclear meidicine like that aren't supposed to become part of the metabolism, ie. they'll pass through within a day or so.

    The risk to bystanders then is pretty much non-existent; the radiation will be shielded by the original recipients body (which already contains natural rdioactive isotopes, chiefly potassium, so that standing close to anyone will actually increase your dose). And few people are likely to be eating their feces during several half-lives of the isotope, so re-ingesting is unlikely.

    In addition, outside the body radiation follows inverse power law, in effect if you imagine a sphere around the radiation source, the dose per surface area of the sphere will decrease much faster than the distance. When the distance grows by 10 times, the dose drops to 1/100th.

    According to the article quote, the TSA thought the radiation was coming from the bag of the man next to him. Because the man next to him presumably had not been taking nuclear cariovascular stress test, we can only assume the TSA team was mistaken, and all they were picking was internal radiation from the man who had. That's what the article says. There would of course be issues/problems if items got contaminated by the imaging isotope, which is a concern, but there's no indication that was the issue here, just a case of the TSA being trained to look for nuclear weapons in handbags.

  • PavewayIII PavewayIII

    Hmmm… I've never been irradiated by a dirty bomb and frankly don't expect some imaginary terrorist to bother trying.

    I am constantly being involuntarily irradiated by various DOE facilities and a few utilities' nuclear power plants. They're way more of a threat, but the government does nothing about those terrorists.

    Now I'm being irradiated by at least three Fukushima dirty bombs.

    Where are the 'Elite' TSA VIPR teams? Please chopper over there and MAKE THEM STOP! I would suggest you take out TEPCO senior managers, but only the President of the U.S. has the self-proclaimed power order execution of those terrorists. God bless America!

    Obama: how about using one of those expensive drones (I paid for) on TEPCO instead of spying on some farmer in Iowa? I'm under attack right now, damn it. Threat Level: Flashing Orange-Red! Administrative secret powers: ACTIVATE.

    I know you could care less about us citizens, but think of the poor sea lions.

  • irhologram

    Agree, CB. Just a perfect reason to establish TSA naked body scanners in train stations and bus depots.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    Totally weird: doctors, hospitals, and dentists using radiation. No thanks.

  • patb2009

    the sensors they use don't differentiate Uranium, Plutonium from Tellurium, Oxygen or technetium or thallium.

  • PurpleRain PurpleRain

    When I worked at a nuke plant…we had to take special precautions just to have an informal pot-luck type everybody bring something to work to share…because the silly crockpot can't be brought thru the radiation monitors just to get in and out of the office-part of the building.

  • razzz razzz

    Who is to say that the guy's bag was hot and picked up radiation somewhere from another source or the guy with hot urine peed on the bag? Either that or the TSA hasn't heard that background radiation levels have been adjusted upward, so they should recalibrate their sensors.

    Remember the guy who had a nuke drink for a medical test and on the way home a cop pulled him over and asked him what made his nuke sensor sound off in his squad car when he drove by? That guy had medical note from the doctor for such occasions.

    Police cars have such sensitive nuke instruments but TEPCO has no idea where their (3) cores are.

  • lam335 lam335

    If the radioactivity being given off by the guy was enough to be detected by radiation sensors and even the TSA's geiger counter while searching the bag across the aisle, then it was also enough to deliver some dose to the people sitting/standing in close proximity to him. It was not all absorbed/blocked by the guy's own body, or it would not have set off the radiation sensors. It's disturbing to think that you can get irradiated by sitting next to someone on the subway, and they don't even have to inform you of the fact..

  • Au Au

    All of the policemen on the west coast and Hawaii must have turned off their radiations sensors.

    Federal agents must have been trained by TEPCO hypnotists as they showed up in street clothes to deal with a radiation event.

  • Gmouse

    Maybe the guy was emitting "medicine",not "tracer"…dose….

  • Lion76 Lion76

    I'm sick of everyone else deciding what is "safe" for me and displaying thought processing and communication using fallacy logic and biased, rhetorical question laden "reasoning" for their conclusion making. If that's your logic, you don't know schitt and shouldn't be making decisions for yourself, let alone others.

  • bong james 008

    to late we are all glowing but some more than others we are letting them kill us WAKE UP

  • timemachine2020 timemachine2020

    They call this a nuclear scare?? Really?? What about the ten million people in Japan exposed to this and worse on a daily basis?? What would they call that, if one person an a train after a medical procedure is a nuclear scare? What do you call a triple meltthrough with 3 full china syndromes happening with loss of cooling to its melted cores and massive amounts of damaged spent fuel? What do you call whats happening to the pacific ocean? The guy on this train was more like a velvet teddy bear snuggled in a bed of hershey kisses compared to the real nuclear scares happening with fukutown and hanford and the daily close calls on the NRC events notifications page.

  • Ganxet Ganxet

    why is the first time thr VIPR alarm sound, if they are looking for radiation since 2004 train bombs in Madrid?
    maybe they are looking hot spots travelling arround the world?