THE USA used to have a RADEF program. REDEF standing for Radiological Defense. It used to be that a government owned contractor operated [GOCO] at Rolla, North Dakota on a Native American Reservation produced dosimeters for the US government. They were distributed, inventoried and calibrated through FEMA’s RADEF program that ended under Director James Lee Witt over the objections of the NSC staff.
Why bring this program elimination up? Because at the moment dosimetry appears to be in very short supply in Japan. FEMA lent [given permanently] dosimeters to the US Navy during Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
See story at:
Should FEMA have stockpiles of dosimeters they could be very helpful to the Japanese on Honshu Island that has taken the brunt of Mother Nature’s fury and a man-made or at least a man-aggravated catastrophic situation.
Also various kinds of portal monitors allow large numbers of people to be monitored and if necessary identified for decontamination in a hurry. No evidence of those in sight so far from the Japanese core-melt crisis in its two nuclear plants each with multiple nuclear reactors. Loss of coolant has led to ramping up of efforts to deal with that loss. Good luck Japan.
The bottom line is that decontamination efforts are tricky and one of the key difficulties if large numbers of people are identified as contaminated by monitoring.
Because dosimeters need periodic calibration a proposal to give all citizens and residents their own dosimeter were rejected during the Reagan Administration.
This monitoring and decontamination story will continue. Also note prior posts on issuance of Potassium Iodide tablets as a Thyroid Blocking Agent with priority to children and pregnant women.