Monday, April 21, 2008

Nuclear? Radiation? Extremists?

Dear Gentle Reader(s), you might know of a recent radiation seed implant to resist cancer of the prostate.  What you might not know is that those seeds emit radiation enough to have warnings issued instructing the implanted to avoid pregnant women by a distance of one meter and to eschew children on the lap.

Further, it is counseled that the radiation will not register at airport security check points.  Um, on the last point, there is a question.

On a recent trip "across the pond," a certain person's radiation seeds did not, as suggested, activate any surveillance instruments at either Los Angeles International Airport nor at London-Gatwick Airport.

On the return trip, however, two belt monitors attached to quite polite security officers at JFK in New York did register the presence of radiation as the certain person passed through two checkpoints.  A quick, "Prostate cancer.  Radiation seed implants" was enough to satisfy the guards, so the trip home was not interrupted.

Today NPR's Morning Edition reports a growing concern with security officials of the possibility of nuclear material being used to construct crude weapons.  The sensors at JFK are calibrated to be quite sensitive, the sensors at LAX and LGW less so, at least on April 16.

Perhaps it's time, alas, for all sensors to be set to note the presence of medical radiation.  That would add but a few moments to travel time.  That would be a small price to pay for increased vigilance.

Trust, but verify.

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