UNITED STATES OF AMERICA NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION
ADMIRAL DONALD: Earlier this evening, as the USS Ronald Reagan was operating off the coast of Japan, we — the ship just arrived. We had given the ship some guidance as far as positioning was concerned to stay clear of the area of the potential plume, basically told her to stay 50 miles outside of the radius of the — 100 miles — excuse me — 50 miles radius outside of the plant — damaged plant — potentially damaged plant, and then 100 miles along the plume with a vector of 45 degrees.
The ship was adhering to that requirement and detected some activity about two and a half times above normal airborne activity using on-board sensors on the aircraft carriers.
So that indicated that they had found the plume and it was probably more significant than what we had originally thought.
The second thing — the second thing that has happened is we have had some helicopters conducting operations from the aircraft carrier and one of the helicopters came back from having stopped on board the Japanese command ship in the area, and people who had been on — were on the helicopter who had walked on the deck of the ship, were monitored and had elevated counts on their feet, 2500 counts per minute.
MR. PONEMAN: Yes, 5,000 d m.
But I wanted to get you guys on the line and my expert on the line so we can get the data and then the proper people notified.
MR. PONEMAN: Okay, I have a couple of questions. Number one, in terms of the level of radiation that you are picking up, what’s the delta between that and any information we have from the Japanese or other sources of what the level of radiation would be, given the venting and so forth that we know has occurred?
MR. MUELLER: So — this is Mueller — the sample that was taken and then what we detected, we were 100 nautical miles away and it’s — in our terms it’s — compared to just normal background it’s about 30 times what you would detect just on a normal air sample out at sea.
And so we thought — we thought based on what we had heard on the reactors that we wouldn’t detect that level even at 25 miles. So it’s much greater than what we had thought. We didn’t think we would detect anything at 100 miles.
MR.. PONEMAN: You didn’t think you’d detect anything at 100 miles. Okay, and then in terms of the regulations and so forth of people operating in these kinds of areas, I forget there’s some you know, acronym for it, PAG or something, how do the levels detected compare with what is permissible?
MR. MUELLER: If it were a member of the general public, it would take — well, it would take about 10 hours to reach a limit, a PAG limit.
MR. PONEMAN: Right.
MR. MUELLER: For a member of the general public.
MR. PONEMAN: Right. You mean, at the level you detected?
MR. MUELLER: Yes sir.
MR. PONEMAN: But 10 hours, okay.
MR. MUELLER: Yes sir, and it would be a thyroid dose issue.
MR. PONEMAN: It’s a thyroid dose issue.
Okay, but the net of all this is that the amount of release that is detected by these two episodes or whatever you would call them, is significantly higher than anything you would have expected from what you have been reading from all sources?
MR. MUELLER: Yes sir. The number — the specific number we detected was 2.5 times 10 to the minus nine microcuries per milliliter, airborne, and that’s particulate airborne. It is — we did not take radioiodine samples so I don’t know that value, but this is particulate airborne.
Tell me again exactly how you picked up these two forms of samples.
MR. MUELLER: We have automatic detectors in the plant that picked up — picked up the airborne, and all of our continuous monitors alarmed at the same level, at this value. And then we took portable air samples on the flight desk and got the same value.
ADMIRAL DONALD: These are normally running continuous detectors, continuous monitors that run in the engine room all the time, monitoring our equipment.
MR. PONEMAN: These are detectors on the Reagan?
ADMIRAL DONALD: On the Ronald Reagan, that’s correct.
MR. MUELLER: Yes sir.
MR. PONEMAN: On the Ronald Reagan. They are there because you have got equipment there that,.byou know, it could emit stuff and while you were there, you picked up stuff that was ambient which indicated that you actually were in the plume?
MR. MUELLER: That’s correct.
MR. PONEMAN: And this was — this was 30 times higher than what you would have expected?
MR. MUELLER: Yes sir.
MR. PONEMAN: Okay and the one with the shoes and — tell me about that again.
MR. MUELLER: The shoes were from helicopter crews that flew to a Japanese flag ship that is 50 miles closer to the power plant at sea, so it’s about — it’s about half way so it’s 50 miles from land as well, and it was near the center line of the plume.
And when they flew back to Ronald Reagan, the contamination was found on the shoes of the people that had gotten off and back onto the helo from the Japanese ship.
MR. PONEMAN: And that was also of a level 30 times what you expected or was there a different ratio?
MR. MUELLER: Oh, this is — we use — we have — we would expect nothing and got — it’s about five times our minimum detectable for frisking.
MR. PONEMAN: And what is that measured in?
MR. MUELLER: That’s in — it’s — so it’s about — it’s 10,000 micro-microcuries per 100 square centimeters, or per frisk.
MR. PONEMAN: Does that measure out in something in terms of rems or millirems?
MR. MUELLER: No, that’s — because this is contamination level.
MR. PONEMAN: And 10,000 microcuries per
MR. MUELLER: square centimeters.
MR. PONEMAN: what gets picked up from Ronald Reagan?
MR. PONEMAN: know, the thing that was
MR. MUELLER: Micro-microcuries per 100 And how do you measure the detectors on board the Repeat that again please.
What was the unit — you
— (audio distortion)
It was microcuries per milliliter.
MR. PONEMAN: Right, so it was the same thing you are talking about in terms of the — what you picked up on the Reagan was also measured in microcuries per milliliters.
MR. MUELLER: Yes, one’s a concentration in the air —
MR. PONEMAN: Yes. Yes.
MR. MUELLER: of microcuries per milliliter, and then the other value is on the surface, the surface (inaudible).
MR. PONEMAN: So does Admiral — sorry Minister D’Agostino or others in the DOE chain know about this?
MR. MUELLER: No sir.
MR. PONEMAN: Okay. Well, we better get them apprised. My alarm’s gone off. I got to jump on another call but you are correct. We do need to handle this appropriately. There’s other communications that have been going on and I have got to make sure that this is factored into that.
So I am going to jump off this now but first thing to do would be to brief Administrator D’Agostino because we are going to have to bring him into this as well.
ADMIRAL DONALD: Okay. Yes sir. We can do that.
MR. MUELLER: Right, but this is 100 nautical miles away at 2500 counts per minute. So they don’t even correlate, the two numbers that you just said. It’s a different — it’s much worse if we are detecting 2500 counts per minute on people’s shoes 50 miles away.
MR. WEBER: Yes, but I don’t know where that other vessel was before it was 50 miles off the coast.
MR. MUELLER: That’s true, but with the airborne at — the airborne that we detected at 100 nautical miles, that’s far and above what we would expect.