Almost exactly one month ago, on the weekend before Halloween, an industrial accident which "resulted in a possible overexposure of members of the public" to the irradiation from 8 Curries of a Cesium 137 occurred in PHILLIPSBURG, NJ.
The NRC event report for that accident came out today 11/22/11. It is the responses to cases such as these which sow the seeds of distrust in the public regarding the supposed guardians of their safety. Were the people nearby quickly informed of what they were exposed too?
The event was attributed to ATLANTIC STATES CAST IRON COMPANY, where a "shutter" fell on a gauge containing a Cesium 137 source. The simplest way to visualize what happened is to picture a flashlight permanently stuck in the "on" position. When you want to use the flashlight, you let the shutter covering the bulb move downward; when you are done needing the light source, you move the shutter back upward. In the case of this accident the shutter fell into the downward position over a weekend.
If the public safety were the foremost concern, we believe the way this event would have been handled as such:
(1) Determine in which direction the radioactive "flashlight" was pointed towards.
(2) Identify on which homes and public places that radioactive "flashlight" was shinning.
(3) IMMEDIATELY INFORM THOSE PEOPLE AFFECTED, especially those who might be pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
We doubt ANY of those 3 things happened. In fact, we suspect that the ONLY way anyone who might have affected by the Situation will ever find out they have been Snookied is if someone reading this blog passes on the information to people they personally know in New Jersey.
Here is a map of the ATLANTIC STATES CAST IRON COMPANY, see who you think might have been at risk.
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