Radioactive man? Milford resident pulled over by state police

Short form: a feller in Connecticut has some high blood pressure, so goes to the doc for some testing. Included is “nuclear stress testing,” where he gets a small amount of radioactive material injected into his bloodstream. Later in the day, he gets pulled over by a state trooper… because the radiation detectors in the troopers car went off when he went by.

A) Who knew that the radiation detectors carried by the cops are that sensitive?

B) Who knew that cops carried radiation detectors?

  • Bruce

    I remember in the 1980′s the Illinois State Police had radiation detectors in their vehicles according
    to what the news channels said to monitor truck shipments and I even asked a state trooper about
    it at the time and he said they did.

  • Arlukiii

    Yes lots of police cars have them around here. The whole nuclear terrorism thing. But the problem is, most nuclear devices can be simply shielded with a thin layer of lead rendering them undetectable by this method. A dirty bomb could be detected this way, I suppose.

    • Anonymous

      > most nuclear devices can be simply shielded with a thin layer of lead

      I believe this is not exactly true. Gamma rays are fairly easily attenuated by lead, but neutrons will happily zip right through. And “thin” might be a fairly massive chunk to bring the gamma ray levels down to background levels, depending on how radioactive the source is. The neutrons will need a hydrogen-rich shield… water or plastic, typically. So a bomb in a lead box suspended within a water tank. If you’re preparing to nuke a city, getting a dump truck or tanker truck probably wouldn’t be that much of a concern.

      But if the truck has to pass through an Xray, the opaque lead “core” will show up nicely.

      All it really takes to protect a city against nuclear terrorism is a complete police state. And it still won’t work… getting a suitcase nuke into NYC or LA would honestly be fairly easy for any nuclear terrorist smarter than the current crop of crotch-bombing morons.

      And bio-terrorism would be a snap.

      • sj

        The problem is that neutron detectors are bulky and expensive, unlike the relatively cheap and pager sized gamma detectors that police are likely to have. My understanding is that neutron detectors are likely to only be at ports and perhaps major highways.

        • Arlukiii

          Yes as above, they do not scan for neutrons so lead will do the job just fine. Or a vat of nurdles for your low Z shielding needs. If you want everything to be uniformly opaque, I think hoppers of ball bearings is a choice. But no matter – the police, like the TSA, are utterly incapable of detecting real threats. They get paid next to nothing, and have no training in particular. Anyway being on the defensive is a mistake. The only way to stop nuclear terrorism is to kill terrorists and prevent new ones from forming. Even preventing nuclear proliferation is going to eventually fail as there are just too many warheads out there.

          • Anonymous

            > The only way to stop nuclear terrorism is to kill terrorists and prevent new ones from forming.

            Good luck with that. So long as the world has different ethnicities, cultures, politics and religions, along with people of differing physical abilities, intelligence and achievement, you will *always* have someone happy to kill other people in the name of God, Allah, the Collective, Dear Leader or what-the-hell-ever.

          • Arlukiii

            I don’t expect zero terrorism, but we certainly can prevent most terrorism. I would include a strategy for getting rid of the most virulent of religious sects and cultures such as the Taliban culture that are totally out of place in the world today. You kill terrorists with bullets, bombs. You kill ignorance with education and economic prosperity. We have been doing well enough with the first (could still be better) but if anything, we are working against the latter. PS, I understand your hatred of communism. But has communism been a significant source of terrorism in the past 20 years?

          • Anonymous

            > But has communism been a significant source of terrorism in the past 20 years?

            Rather a non sequitur. Nazism has hardly been a significant source of terrorism the last 60 years, but it’s still a good idea to work against its return. But unlike the Nazis, the Commies are still an ideological force causing a ruckus in the world economy.

          • Arlukiii

            “of God, Allah, the Collective, Dear Leader or what-the-hell-ever.”

            I merely suggest that terrorism is today caused almost exclusively by religion alone. As a result, it is strongly against atheist communism. Commies may exist (France in your likely estimation) but they are not blowing things up. What damage they cause to the economy I am not certain, maybe you mean Greece? They are demonstrably not communists, but a democratic republic with strong undercurrents of socialism. And yes there is a difference. If you get bread rations, it is communism. If you get a pension and 2 months paid vacation, it is euro-socialism.

          • Anonymous

            > I merely suggest that terrorism is today caused almost exclusively by religion alone.

            There are more troubles in the world than just terrorism. Are you equally confused by people who might rail against rape, female circumcision or some disease or other?

            > If you get a pension and 2 months paid vacation, it is euro-socialism.

            It’s also likely to be fiscally doomed.

  • Anonymous

    Technetium-99m, emitting gamma at 140.5 keV. Right in the easy-to-detect sweet spot for gamma and it’s used all the time for blood flow imaging.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technetium-99m

  • John Nowak

    When we went over the Aswan High Dam, the tour bus was scanned by (I think) backscatter X-Ray.

    If the police have radiation detectors, they need to be sensitive, which means the occasional medically-sourced false positive. I can’t source it, but I’m pretty sure I heard this before when someone tried to take the NY Subway.

  • Magmonster2002

    Stopping nuclear terrorists used to be done by so intimidating foreign tinpot dictators that they’d use their full internal control apparatus to make sure something like that didn’t happen. Unfortunately, for this to work, you need a tinpot dictator in control and not a collective of religious fanatics. Whoops!

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