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Anecdote: Hazards of nuclear transport

I was reading your "Why we don't like irradiation" and got to the part about the increased chance of accidents with nuclear material, and it reminded me of something.

While I was in the Navy in the eighties, I knew an ELT (Engineering Laboratory Technician), trained to take samples and readings for potential radioactivity. He was very intelligent, having made it through the Navy's tough Nuclear Power School in Orlando, and nuclear prototype training either in Idaho or Ballston Spa, NY.

On at least one occasion, he admitted to me later, he was chosen to transport potentially contaminated material (essentially swipe pads and paper towels, I think) to a facility several miles from the ship. The shortest route was through a short bridge-tunnel, but the potential for an accident that would be difficult to handle (and explain) forced the proper route to be over a bridge, adding several miles to the trip. He took the bridge-tunnel anyway.


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