One month he stood watch in the engineroom in close proximity to the reactors (and shielding). The next month he stood watch on/around the bridge, far away from the reactor but in the sun.
His exposure from just being outside was noticeably higher than when he stood watch next to the reactor.
From your link: "The equivalent dose for 365 bananas (one per day for a year) is 3.6 millirems (36 μSv)."
500 bananas is 5 millirems. Try 500k.
On the radiology and nuclear medicine side, air force and navy techs seem a lot more rad safety conscious than the army people I have met.
Having whoever screwed up worst buy everyone else beer each week strikes me as a very good way to shame that person, and encourage people to try to avoid being that guy.
Yes, it is done in a joking manner, and it is accepted that everyone will be that guy some time. But I know how I'd react.
(Aside: how many articles was Joel planning on writing when he came up with that URL scheme? Crikey.)
Some teams want everyone to be familiar with how they do it. If that is your goal, you have to pick the unlucky person in some way.
To this day it remains one of the worst reactor accidents, with design and operational mistakes on the scale of Chernobyl. It's enormously fortunate that the reactor was fairly small.
SL-1 had a negative void coefficient: as the coolant boils off, fewer neutrons are slowed down to speeds where they can be readily captured by fuel and the reaction slows down, creating a negative feedback loop. This type of passive safety is all but mandatory in modern reactor designs. SL-1 blew up because the feedback loop lagged behind the pressure buildup by a few milliseconds, and it spontaneously disassembled (kaboom). No meltdown, no china syndrome -- just a bunch of fuel all over the place and a guy impaled on the ceiling.
Radiation can widely vary and very little is known about low dose radiation. The nuclear industry follows a rule called ALARA As Low As Reasonaobly Achievable which really just allows for these strict minimums. There is little proof that 5 rems will actually cause a higher probability of cancer.
More like, you try finding a sodium-iodide scintillation detector that HAS a manual!
Another great story, thanks for posting.
Professor Emeritus Bernard L. Cohen of Pittsburgh University has a lot to say on the matter: http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/
(Consider, also, that some might not find 'fall distance' a reasonable analog to radiation relative to other options like 'head trauma induced by soccer ball'.)
This is a more reasonable stance than the blanket 'radiation regulation is silly', but I hesitate to award it too many points - it's hardly a big step to say you're against abuse and for progress. You can have progress and prevent abuse while adhering to (potentially overly) strict safety regulations.
(I may also balk at your stark claim of unverifiability - radiation damage is pretty demonstrable.)