In the previous post on the 30th anniversary of Three Mile Island and subsequent radiation monitoring, I mentioned use of unexposed photographic film for examining exposures.  Apparently, film was sent to Kodak for analysis.

It is important to note that radiation monitoring, directly with dosimeters, or inferentially using film, does not provide the full picture of risk.  That is because it does not involve consideration of actual inhalation or ingestion of radio-isotopes.  Consider plutonium:  it emits primarily alpha particles, which can be stopped with a sheet of paper.  But when inhaled, it emits those particles over many years, and so close to human cells as to be highly dangerous and capable of causing cancer.

Thus, discussion about emissions from nuclear plants (whether or not an accident has been involved) can be, and is, readily sidetracked by solely looking at measurements of radition.  We must consider the individual isotopes and whether or not they are being incorporated into living things.  The individual elements emitting the radiation must be analyzed quantitatively.


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