Originally Posted by KimberFan
Good post. Alpha radiation isn't one to see as a light scare, it's bone seeker if ingested. (cancer)...nasty stuff.
Yeah, but the dose you'd have to receive in order for it to be a problem would place you close enough for other things to kill you first.
That said, the less radiation you absorb from a nuclear event, the better.
Radioactive particles can be washed off of skin and clothing, assuming the water isn't also contaminated with radioactive particulates.
Your skin is one of the most perfect barriers nature has devised, but once that barrier has been breached (cut) or circumvented (mouth, eyes, ears) there's not nearly so much protection for what's inside you.
Once again, cover your mouth, leave the area if you're not already in a structure you can seal off (turn off the A/C, seal A/C vents/doors/windows with duct tape and plastic sheeting) for a week or two, and travel upwind.
Having 5 gallon water jugs and disposable plastic bottles are a good idea, as is canned food, a battery powered weather radio with lithium batteries, and incandescent flashlights (maglites). A coleman stove of the right type will burn just about anything you feed it. Plastic sheeting and duct tape, available at your local Wal-Mart, can seal off your house. If you live near a nuclear power plant, having a gas mask and Potassium Iodide tablets is probably a good idea.
If you live in or near a city like we do, you're SOL. Hope that the invaders are short on nukes and stay away from military facilities if you're not in the military.
Obviously gas masks, NBC suits (sometimes called MOPP, or Mission Oriented Protective Posture, suits in the military), and extra filters is a good idea, but all that stuff costs a lot of money and it simply is not necessary if you are prudent in your post-nuclear event travels.
To give someone an idea of how expensive all that stuff is:
1. The MCU-2/P mask like the one I was issued is about $200 or so.
2. The CBRN filters for the mask are between $40 to $50 each.
3. A chemical suit like a Tychem CPF-4 (better than a typical military chemical suit and less expensive) is about $100. Anything less than that is not something you want to wear for an extended amount of time in a contaminated environment and the cost differential between it and lesser suits is marginal.
4. The butyl gloves like the pair I was issued go for $20-$25 a pair.
5. Chemical boots are between $25-$50 a pair, but much better and less expensive than the stupid butyl overboots I was issued- far easier to put on and take off.
6. A mask-compatible canteen will run between $15 to $30.
You'll need to add some money for testing and cleaning supplies to ensure that the mask seals to your face and that it is in good condition if you need it.
The voice transmitting attachments and drinking tube attachments are usually sold at extra cost and do not come with the mask. In order for people to understand what you're saying, the voice transmitter is a good idea. The drinking tube for a compatible canteen should be an obvious necessity.
For decontamination, the military uses bleach and water. Oddly enough, with all the other fancy equipment available, simple household bleach is what you would use for decontamination. Make sure the bleach doesn't have anything else added to it.
Now for the expensive stuff. Dosimeters, chargers, and measurement recording equipment can easily costs hundreds of dollars. A dosimeter similar to the kind reactor personnel are issued is typically $100 or more. You also need a charger, another $100 or more. Electronic personal dosimeters typically cost several hundred dollars or more. Any radiation detection equipment has to be calibrated and if it wasn't calibrated then there's no way of knowing whether or not the measurements taken by the instrument are accurate. This means that the nuclear detection alert electronic toys sold online are not what you want to use to determine exposure, even if they are mildly entertaining and can, to some extent, measure or record exposure. Even after radiation detection instruments are calibrated, few of them, apart from the ones that are unaffordable and/or unavailable to the general public, are sophisticated enough to paint a complete picture of your exposure. However, the personal dosimeter is a very good indicator of exposure and, generally speaking, accurate so long as it was calibrated and the dose was within the measurement range of the instrument.
After all of that, you need manuals, training, and exercises to actually use all of that equipment.
My advice is to use what's simple and available, use common sense to avoid irradiated areas, and not to invest in the types of equipment the military uses if you do not live near a nuclear power facility. Nuclear power facilities are a more significant hazard than nuclear explosions because the radiation releases from accidents and normal operations are of much longer duration, and at a significant dosage rate with respect to the hazard posed to human life, even if the peak dosage rate is not nearly as high as a nuclear explosion. The decay rate of the byproducts of nuclear explosions is much, much faster than those from nuclear power accidents. Apart from tests, no one has ever used a nuclear weapon apart from our own government. Conversely, most industrialized countries use nuclear power and all of them, so far as I know, have had a variety of nuclear power-related accidents resulting in the inadvertent release of radioactive material.