Radiation exposure at the Crossroads.
Among factors that GAO believes contribute to this are:
* badge dosimeters that were unreliable for measuring both external gamma and beta radiation.
* no allowance for inaccuracies attributable to the badge's film, even though DNA acknowledges that badge readings could vary by 30 percent (up or down).
* the high number of unmonitored workers.
* no estimate for exposure through open wounds.
* suspicion that decontamination was inadequate; the earliest mention GAO found of a requirement to shower or change clothes after work at contaminated ships was in procedures issued after the last Crossoards detonation.
* no accounting for film processing and reading inaccuracies. A mid-1950s National Bureau of Standards test found that several laboratories erred by plus-or-minus-100 percent in their reading of film badges similar to those used at Crossoards. Based on that, GAO doubts that "readings performed under harsh Crossroards conditions would have been more accurate than those in laboratories."
* DNA's method for estimating internal exposure, which may have underestimated alpha does by a factor of 10.
* DNA's faulty assumption that not eating onboard target ships precluded ingestion of radioactive materials.
GAO recommends that DNA revise its estimates of Crossroads exposures to account for these factors because potential errors in the original calculations are not just academic. The Veterans Administration uses DNA's calculations in adjudicating radiation-related disability claims. The Defense Department challenged many of GAO's assertions and recommendations in a 30-page dissent that has been included in the report; the accounting agency counters each with a point-for-point rebuttal.
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|Title Annotation:||General Accounting Office challenges Defense Nuclear Agency report on radiation exposure during Operation Crossroads|
|Date:||Dec 21, 1985|
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