Säteilyturvakeskus (STUK) in Finland: Amateurish radiation protection

In the past, on several occasions, I wrote about the amateurish conduct of STUK experts, those responsible for protecting Finns from the dangers of radiation, any radiation. Links to these posts are here:

Recently, was again revealed how amateurish the STUK experts are.

Last week, on March 3rd – 4th, 2016, STUK measured exceptionally high levels of cesium-137 in air in Helsinki. Levels were significantly higher than normal, though, relatively safe for the health of general population. On March 7th, 2016, STUK issued press release informing about this exceptional measurement. To make the story short, the source of the cesium-137 was found to be the company handling demolition of the old radiation equipment, business off-shot from STUK, Suomen Nukliditekniikka Oy, located in the same premises as STUK.

So far so good. Tiny amount of cesium-137 was detected showing that the measuring equipment is sensitive and in working order. The amount of cesium-137 detected was not harmful for health.

But there is a big problem, showing lack of professionalism on behalf of STUK.

How it is possible that nobody predicted, or nobody cared enough, to consider that locating very sensitive measuring equipment in the same premises as the company handling demolition of the old radiation-emitting equipment, may compromise measurements of airborne radiation.

The consequences of such unprofessional shortsightedness were expensive (how much?) as some 20 persons for several days were looking for the radiation source and who are still involved in clean-up of the contaminated parts of STUK building. This “measurement mess” was easily avoidable by using a simple logic and a precaution – do not locate sensitive measuring equipment in the same premises where the old radiation equipment is being demolished and may accidentally contaminate the building, causing false alarm for the whole of Finland.

However, there is more. Namely, how reliable is the radiation protection of Finns by experts of STUK, making such amateurish mistakes… and… the same persons, responsible for the amateurish conduct, repeat and repeat again… And this is not the first time. The contamination of STUK premises happened already earlier, with plutonium…

From the past experiences with STUK managerial culture, coming from my 22 years of work there, most likely nobody outside of STUK will care and the whole responsibility for such amateurish conduct will be brushed under the rug…

Until the next time…

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