magistrate (draegonhawke) wrote in little_details,

US Armed Forces - Radiation exposure limits.

Present-day America.

Several Air Force personnel are required to scope out a facility which may or may not be "hot," radiation-wise. Because of this, they're equipped with dosimeters as well as geiger counters (my research indicates pen dosimeters rather than badge dosimeters; the pen type has a convenient readable meter in REMs). The person equipping them reminds them that they have to check them periodically, and says something to the effect of "Anything over X milliröntgens and you have to get out," and therein lies my problem.

First and most importantly, in such a situation, is there a standard limit for exposures? I've found information on people working in positions analogous to civilian workers, such as nuclear engineers or radiologists, I've found information on state limits (such as "There are some variations in different state responses. Washington State's regulations, for example, allow 5 rem (50 mSv) as the accepted exposure limit for emergency responders. Exceeding 5 rem requires a review and approval of the state health officer. The state then allows exposure up to 25 rem for life saving and higher for volunteers 'who understand the risks.' Other responders (in New Orleans, for example) are told to leave the area at over 10 rems" from and I've found information that says the limits for people working in high-radiation environments "such as nuclear war" is different, but I can't find a number attached to that. Is there one, or is it left to someone's discretion? (And if so, whose?)

Second and least importantly, would the dosimeter be in rems or sieverts? I'm lead to believe rems, but I have no hard data.

Third and... well, tangential, I guess, am I asking the right questions or do I have some basic assumptions terribly, terribly wrong? What little I know I've culled from disconnected Google searches, TV shows and a few fiction books, which are hardly authoritative resources.

I've read through the Wiki articles on radiation, radiation poisoning, dosimeters, military nuclear accidents, the Nuclear Emergency Support Team, and several of the articles in the Nuclear Safety category. I've Googled dosimeters, radiation limits armed forces, radiation limits, nuclear hazard radiation exposure, etc.

Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

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