Radiation Protection Today - Spring 2022 | Page 4

Letters to The Editor

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Dear Editor ,
I refer to Walter McCormick ' s letter in the Winter 2021 issue about the installation of a Whole Body Monitor ( WBM ) at AWRE following the Pochin Inquiry . I helped to commission a newly built WBM at Springfields in the late 1970s , and it was fascinating work . The Springfields WBM also had shielding walls made from pre-atomic weapon test era steel . I believe this was armour plate taken from a WW1 naval vessel that sank in Scapa Flow .
I ' ve not been involved with this type of work for many years , and I confess I am not conversant with the latest developments in detector technology . I was therefore surprised by Walter ' s comment that there is now no need for shielded rooms to make accurate in-vivo measurements . I know that coincidence techniques and sandwich-type detectors can help to filter out the unwanted background signal . However , I would have thought that a low background environment would still be preferable for in-vivo measurements , especially when looking for low energy radiation ?
I don ' t know if the Springfields WBM is still in use . If indeed accurate in-vivo measurements can be made without the need for a shielded room , then I suspect that sadly , it has probably been decommissioned .
Steven Osborn CRadP MSRP ( EDF Energy )
Dear Editor ,
I have been a member of SRP since 1969 . Having worked in radiation protection before that , I recalled an incident that occurred in 1966 which readers may find of interest .
I was working at the Birmingham Centre of the Radiological Protection Service ( which later became part of the National Radiological Protection Board ). Part of my job was running the Film Badge Service . One returned badge showed a clearly defined small black circle which I considered was due to exposure to radiation . I was concerned as the wearer worked in crystallography , which uses intense narrow beams of X-rays , able to produce such an image . He assured me he had not been working with radiation during the relevant period and also mentioned he had pinned the badge at the back of his jacket lapel for safe-keeping .
I questioned him further and discovered he had visited his young niece , who wanted him to wear ( at work ) a child ' s enamel brooch commemorating England ' s World Cup victory that year . A marmalade company had produced the brooches depicting a footballer with a football under his arm . To avoid embarrassment , the worker soon transferred his brooch to the back of his lapel , fortunately in close contact with his film badge .
I asked him to check the brooch for the presence of radiation , which he found . It transpired that pigment in the enamel depicting the football contained uranium . This information was quickly passed to the marmalade company , so that appropriate action could be taken . I understand that the radioactive enamel was used on numerous other displays .
Richard Hampton MSRP ( retired )
Dear Editor ,
There are a number of areas of significant uranium mineralisation in the UK . Colin Partington ' s article in the Winter 2021 issue deals with one in south-west Scotland . Another is in the Old Red Sandstone of the Orkney Islands . It runs from the shore of Stromness to the cliffs of Yesnaby , and is commonly known as the ' uranium corridor '. Not surprisingly , Orcadians are not at all enthusiastic about the possibility that the uranium might be present in exploitable quantities , and over many decades there has been strong local resistance to even exploratory surveys .
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