Raise your hands if you suspected that monitoring in the US was not exactly as rigorous and thorough as you had hoped. Keep them up if you were told to stop being so paranoid. Don't you wish you had a copy of THIS -- a transcribed audio file, the virtual experience of the hypothetical fly-on-the-wall at the NRC just after the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Event commenced being the really scary poisonous and badly-handled mess it now is:
We all thought as much. Could be why the monitoring stations were breaking down, no? Could be why Radnetwork always seemed to hold a steady reassuring 30 cpm for LA.
3/30/11 -- most all of the screenshots on file at the internet archive from the early days of the disaster appear to be 3/30/1, not the wide spread of dates otherwise available. Because, of course, that is not what one would want archived. Uh, what?
3/28/11 is one of those dates promised but not delivered by the Internet Archive. Interesting thing about 3/28:
JAPAN NUCLEAR RAIN RAISES ALABAMA RADIATION LEVEL
Residents in and around Alabama are becoming quite uneasy with the most recent radiation level readings produced by the Rad network as they fear nuclear rain from the Japan – Fukushima crisis has hit U.S. soil. According to the Rad Network, anything over 100 CPM is cause for alert and today in northern Alabama, the radiation level hit 175! Now before you think the world is going to end or that you are going to die if you live in Alabama, you won’t. The radiation levels may be cause for an alert they are not high enough to kill anyone…yet. More than likely, the high radiation levels have nothing to do with Japan or the Fukushima disaster. Don’t go planning any doomsday parties as this is probably the result of a faulty reading. [I have included a screenshot of when the radiation levels were at 160 in Alabama]
Click to enlarge
...Look at that! As I was writing this post, the radiation levels in Northern Alabama dropped to0! It looks like the threat is over and it was NOT due to radioactive rain from the Japan – Fukushima nuclear crisis. Wait a minute, 0 [zero] !?
4/13. Must have been a low enough day to keep the data.
Even through the worst spikes of last spring (and summer and fall and winter and, well, now), and even though now the USGS is now reporting LA to have gotten quite dosed:
Must have been while all the geiger counters weren't looking.
I had thought (from the way it acts now) that the NRC was originally formed to promote nuclear power, not to regulate it; seems I was wrong. That was the AEC. The NRC actually started out in 1975 with the intent, on paper at least, to... look ...over ...the industry. You know, a form of oversight. In this next snippet, from the NRC itself, all textual emphsis is mine; the bold italics indicate a passage where I, laughing silently and shaking my head, thought the words chosen were especially, uh, ...choice.
Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)
Before the NRC was created, nuclear regulation was the responsibility of the AEC, which Congress first established in the Atomic Energy Act of 1946. Eight years later, Congress replaced that law with the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, which for the first time made the development of commercial nuclear power possible. The act assigned the AEC the functions of both encouraging the use of nuclear power and regulating its safety. The AEC's regulatory programs sought to ensure public health and safety from the hazards of nuclear power without imposing excessive requirements that would inhibit the growth of the industry. This was a difficult goal to achieve, especially in a new industry, and within a short time the AEC's programs stirred considerable controversy. An increasing number of critics during the 1960s charged that the AEC's regulations were insufficiently rigorous in several important areas, including radiation protection standards, reactor safety, plant siting, and environmental protection.
AEC to NRC
By 1974, the AEC's regulatory programs had come under such strong attack that Congress decided to abolish the agency. Supporters and critics of nuclear power agreed that the promotional and regulatory duties of the AEC should be assigned to different agencies. The Energy Reorganization Act of 1974 created the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; it began operations on January 19, 1975.
The NRC (like the AEC before it) focused its attention on several broad issues that were essential to protecting public health and safety.
"Like the AEC before it." If they did so with such aspirations, it is no wonder that by "April 2011," one of the most openly critical Wikipedia articles I have encountered recently gleefully informs me, "Reuters reported that the NRC exists to police, not promote, the domestic nuclear industry -- but diplomatic cables show that it is sometimes used as a sales tool to help push American technology to foreign governments."
If you have not, you NEED to read this article by Bill Kiesling.
Promotionals. What was needed from the get go, if nuclear was ever going to make it, were promos. Spin. Not regulation.
Same for the IAEA. Neither has changed much, either: we were all engaged in an ultimately self-destructive form of wishful thinking, who thought otherwise.
Oh, but now it has already happened, right, kids? No need to freak out.
Links to the above PDF are worth following for other treasures, like proof they suspected the meltdowns were meltdowns, even then.
In a related story:
***Jaczko gets 'best actor in a supporting role' -- although that should be another post, couldn't resist....
Be seeing you.