National Conference on Radiation Control (Joji Ortego, Los Angeles County Radiation Management, Principal Radiation Protection Specialist), Jul 2012 (emphasis added):
- Los Angeles County’s Response to the Fukushima Incident
- Public Concerns — Will radiation reach California?… Local produce exposed? Radiation in rain? Is water and milk safe?…
- Delay in obtaining information from the federal agencies… Deployed ~20 telemetry radiation monitors… Deployed ~30 air samplers throughout the County…
- LA County contacted the State’s Radiologic Health Branch (RHB) for assistance. Due to budgetary issues, RHB pulled the 3 RAM [Radiation Area Monitor?] inspectors…
- State lab results would not be able to report results in a timely manner – may take weeks… Local RAM manufacturer equipped with analyzer [was] contacted for assistance – 24‐hour turnaround time…
- Problems Encountered… Environmental Health personnel’s fear of radiation…
- Gross Alpha at Hacienda Heights location, Apr 29-May 2, 2011: 0.2 aCi/ml [200 fCi/m3*]
- Gross Alpha at Los Angeles location, Apr 29-May 2, 2011: 0.3 aCi/ml [300 fCi/m3*]
- *Conversion: 1,000,000 milliliters (ml) = 1 cubic meter (m3); 1,000 attocuries (aCi) = 1 femtocurie (fCi)
BBC: If the radioactive source is inside the body, perhaps after being swallowed or breathed in: Alpha radiation is the most dangerous because it is easily absorbed by cells. Beta and gamma radiation are not as dangerous because they are less likely to be absorbed by a cell and will usually just pass right through it.
Gross alpha activity of 300 fCi/m3 in Los Angeles seven weeks after releases from Fukushima began was 790 times normal levels in California:
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, Calif.), 2006: Gross alpha activity (annual median value) in 2006 was… Livermore site perimeter: 0.38 femtocurie per cubic meter [fCi/m3]); Livermore Valley stations: 0.38 fCi/m3; Site 300: 0.38 fCi/m3
Gross alpha activity in Los Angeles seven weeks after releases from Fukushima began was 100 times the level that triggers an investigation at a U.S. nuclear lab:
- Brookhaven National Laboratory, 2014: Radiological Air Monitoring… If the gross alpha activity in the filters is greater than 3 fCi/m3, then collect more samples in the vicinity, and project manager will review all detections above the limits… All values greater than the above-stated gross alpha/beta concentration shall trigger an investigation…
Gross alpha activity in Los Angeles seven weeks after releases from Fukushima began was nearly 15 times U.S. government regulatory limits:
- Idaho National Laboratory, 2010: Gross alpha… federal regulatory limits [are] 21 fCi/m3… [source] 40 CFR 61.
What radionuclides are included in gross alpha measurements?
- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory: Hanford Site releases minor amounts of gross alpha-emitting radionuclides (e.g., plutonium isotopes)
- Electric Power Research Institute: Alpha Radionuclide Distribution — The nuclide distribution of irradiated fuel has been thoroughly studied… of interest for radiation safety include isotopes of curium, plutonium, and americium.
Published: December 8th, 2015 at 7:28 pm ET