Help | Contact Us
NukeWorker.com
NukeWorker Menu Navy Nuke safety?

Author Topic: Navy Nuke safety?  (Read 21399 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

blueraiin

  • Guest
Navy Nuke safety?
« on: Jul 14, 2004, 01:06 »
I am considering going the nuke pathway for the Navy. I was wondering how safe the job is for ET,MM,EM? Is any anyone safer than the other two? Is there a lot of exposure to radiation and such? Or are the jobs pretty safe healthwise? Thank you very much.

Offline Roll Tide

  • Nearly SRO; Previous RCO / AUO / HP Tech / MM1ss
  • Very Heavy User
  • *****
  • Posts: 1876
  • Total likes: 0
  • Karma: 1447
  • Gender: Male
  • Those who wait upon God..rise up on eagles' wings
Re: Navy Nuke safety?
« Reply #1 on: Jul 14, 2004, 02:40 »
I am considering going the nuke pathway for the Navy. I was wondering how safe the job is for ET,MM,EM? Is any anyone safer than the other two? Is there a lot of exposure to radiation and such? Or are the jobs pretty safe healthwise? Thank you very much.

The nuclear side of the Navy is safe. There is some risk, though slight, from an occupational exposure to ionizing radiation of 20 Rem in a 20 year career. Most current nukes aren't in the 1 Rem club, so the risk is even lower. 1 additional death from cancer for every 10,000 nukeworkers receiving lifetime dose of 20 Rem was once published as the likely result (but there are already hundreds of deaths from cancer in the group, so who knows which person was the extra 1?)


The non-nuclear stuff in the Navy does have hazards. It is similar to industrial facilities, and there are electrocutions (EM and ET most likely), steam burns (MM most likely), drownings and crushings (all 3 ratings). The hazards are due to the rotating machinery and exposed electrical circuits and pressurized piping systems in a shipboard environment. It is probably safer than being on a college campus, but that is just my own personal opinion.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
.....
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

damad1

  • Guest
Re: Navy Nuke safety?
« Reply #2 on: Jul 14, 2004, 05:55 »
I served 8 years in the Nuke Navy as a surface MM, and only saw one injury from operations, when a SSTG fireballed and caught the watchstander. He got burned a bit, but that was all. On the same cruise, we lost 4 guys, (I was on a carrier), one heart attack, two deaths on liberty, and one man killed on the flight deck.

If you have no experience with nuclear power, take all of what you see on TV and in the movies and throw it right out the damned window. 99% of that stuff is all crap. Radiation exposure is minimal. You have more to worry about when it comes to heat exposure in the plants than you do radiation!

Offline Phurst

  • NRRPT-HPT
  • Very Heavy User
  • *****
  • Posts: 701
  • Total likes: 0
  • Karma: 1123
  • Gender: Male
  • One in a row!
Re: Navy Nuke safety?
« Reply #3 on: Jul 14, 2004, 09:38 »

(but there are already hundreds of deaths from cancer in the group, so who knows which person was the extra 1?)


The non-nuclear stuff in the Navy does have hazards. It is similar to industrial facilities, and there are electrocutions (EM and ET most likely), steam burns (MM most likely), drownings and crushings (all 3 ratings). The hazards are due to the rotating machinery and exposed electrical circuits and pressurized piping systems in a shipboard environment. It is probably safer than being on a college campus, but that is just my own personal opinion.

But which cancers were due to radiation? Good chance that there were fewer from radiation than exposure to chemicals, radon, or food additives. If you want to be in a safe job, go be a doctor and die from a heart attack, stroke, or auto accident as most people do. If safe is where you want to be then stay indoors, don't drive, don't fly, don't leave the house. Look up risk assessment and make your choice. The nuclear industry is one of the safest there is anywhere. I did get a paper cut doing an ALARA review.
Today is the best day of my life! HSIITBS!


'For the quality of owning freezes you forever into "I" and cuts you off forever from the "we". - Steinbeck

RCLCPO

  • Guest
Re: Navy Nuke safety?
« Reply #4 on: Jul 14, 2004, 01:06 »
In every power plant there will be a risk of injury.  High energy steam, regardless of what boiled the water, is a hazard, as well as all the electrical equipment, chemical and atmospheric conditions.

The Navy takes great care to keep the engine room safe, for both personnel and equipment.  Every time someone gets injured, an investigation is launched to find out what happened, how it can be prevented in the future, and spread the word to everyone else in the fleet about the findings.

For example, the administrative requirements to prove that a certain piece of equipment is electrically de-energized prior to getting permission to perform maintenance on that equipment is a nightmare, but it's written in the blood of sailors who've been hurt.  I took me a long time to accept that it would take over 4 hours of administrative headache to get to the point where I could perform a 10 minute maintenance item.  But this is the way it has to be, to keep people safe, and keep the equipment safe.

Legally, any exposure to ionizing radiation invovles some risk of cancer.  Out of 20 years in the Navy, being on 4 submarines and 1 land-based prototype reactor plant, I have just over 1.5 Rem of lifetime exposure.  Of all the people in a group of 10,000 who get cancer, I might be 1 more.  Might.  But what if it was due to exposure to cosmic radiation while mountain climbing? There's no way to know, just analysis of the statistics.  There are even health studies on the internet showing that cancer rates among nuclear workers are actually lower than that of the general population.  The average exposure to people living in the US is 355 mRem a year, most of it due to Radon.  While on board the USS Chicago, I averaged about 8 mRem a month.  It is ironic that now, while walking around Portland, Oregon, I get almost 4 times the radiation exposure I received while working 50 feet away from a reactor.

In the course of my 20 years, I have seen only 1 injury that required us to Medivac someone off the boat.  A mechanic could feel a small amount of air coming out of a low-pressure air compressor.  A flashlight inspection revealed nothing, so he decided, on his own, to stick his arm deep into the machine to try to feel the source of the air.  Unfortunately, it was from a fan, and he proceeded to stick his hand into the rotating blades.  The corpsman on board stiched his fingers back together, and we headed for the nearest place to meet up with  a helicopter to get him to a hospital.  He came out OK, but let his curiosity over-ride his following procedure: turn it off before you go poking around!

I have seen 2 or 3 people take an electric shock, but the Navy threshold of what voltage is considered dangerous is only 30 volts (yes, thirty).  Safety training is one of those things that gets hammered into you over, and over, and over....the other postings are correct, you're most likely to get a paper cut and look for a cooler spot than get injured or get cancer from the radiation.
« Last Edit: Jul 30, 2004, 03:35 by RCLCPO »

blueraiin

  • Guest
Re: Navy Nuke safety?
« Reply #5 on: Jul 14, 2004, 03:36 »
Thanks a lot for all your help.  I did not realize daily life in an urban city had that much exposure.  How were you able to calculate the amount of Rem while you were on the ship?  Thanks a lot. 

Offline Phurst

  • NRRPT-HPT
  • Very Heavy User
  • *****
  • Posts: 701
  • Total likes: 0
  • Karma: 1123
  • Gender: Male
  • One in a row!
Re: Navy Nuke safety?
« Reply #6 on: Jul 14, 2004, 05:01 »
Meticulous records are kept for every exposed individual in military and commerical nuclear power, at least since 1978 and probably earlier although there are those on this site older than me, hard to imagine, that claim the records weren't so well kept in the 50's and 60's. Any exposed individual should be able to tell you their life time dose plus or minus a few rem and with records in hand, right down to the last millierem, with some exceptions for calculations, usually high or extremities, hard to measure but less of a concern. Most people get as much per year from natural and medical as workers get from the job. The workers also get the natural and medical so they about double your annual and that is still 1/10th the annual limit. All this is plus or minus a few hundred millierem but is miniscule compared to what is considered leathal, about 1000 times the annual background given within hours. Nobody I have ever heard of has died from acute radiation exposure received from a US naval vessel or an American commercial power plant.
Today is the best day of my life! HSIITBS!


'For the quality of owning freezes you forever into "I" and cuts you off forever from the "we". - Steinbeck

RCLCPO

  • Guest
Re: Navy Nuke safety?
« Reply #7 on: Jul 14, 2004, 05:55 »
Here are some good reference sites:

http://www.iaea.or.at/worldatom/inforesource/factsheets/radlife.html

http://www.epa.gov/radiation/students/calculate.html

http://www.epa.gov/radiation/

I can also tell you how to get a sensitive radiation detector that's powered by your laptop computer for about $180.....

davdan2

  • Guest
Re: Navy Nuke safety?
« Reply #8 on: Sep 19, 2004, 02:06 »
Well, I guess you would call me real old school, an RO on a fast attack back in the late 70's. Still have a few buddies working in the nuc field, but I was injured pretty bad (car accident) and had to go on to other things. But being a nuc will open many doors for you, and you will find out what you are really capable of. About safety...Back then you were always hearing about people getting hurt on regular ships, but very rarely on nucs. The standards are much higher, and people are more careful. The regs can be a pain, bet a pre crit takes hours nowadays, but that's what makes it safer. Back then we had a device called a TLD that you wore, and there were some placed in various locations and checked once a month. One guy though it would be fun to take his to the beach (VA) one day and leave it in the sun. It read WAY higher than normal! Back then, any incident meant you had to "talk to the black box", they recorded everything and then wrote reg's to try to keep it from happening again. This guy just got a good a#@chewing from the Engineer,XO, and CO. But it was good times!!!

xdoug92000

  • Guest
Re: Navy Nuke safety?
« Reply #9 on: Dec 07, 2004, 01:00 »
I'm most likely one of the guy's who recieved the most and worst radiation while in the navy. Bad accident while an instructor at the old A1W plant in Idaho. Long and short, no long term ill effects after 20+ years. Severed on SSBN as MM, more dangers in Rota bars than on the boat.

s_Phoenix

  • Guest
Re: Navy Nuke safety?
« Reply #10 on: Dec 09, 2004, 07:09 »
Nuc end is safe.  Just watch out for the stuff thats not controlled my nuc's.  Had a panel installed to replace  the EOT/POT that was not grounded.  Shocked 2 of my bud's.  Fix both problems, 1st not being grounded and 2nd not being controlled by nuc's.   We react very badly to mistake's

My record for surface pre-crit for now is 1.5hr's.  God bless micro-processor's

Offline Marlin

  • Forum Staff
  • *
  • Posts: 13316
  • Total likes: 538
  • Karma: 5131
  • Gender: Male
  • Stop Global Whining!!!
Re: Navy Nuke safety?
« Reply #11 on: Dec 10, 2004, 08:17 »
   If you are not an ELT underway on a sub it is likley that you will recieve less than normal background radiation. The only exception on rare occasion will be a junior enlisted berthed on the torpedo handling racks who was not very careful about where he placed his bed, or that after a weapons drill his bed was moved around with the torpedos and was left over the wrong weapon. The reason for the lower dose is that you are placing a significant amount of shielding between you and cosmic and terrestrial (natural) radiation. The greatest decrease will be that of radon. you have removed the source of radon gas and are in an extremely clean air envelope. If you are wondering about the added dose from an operating reactor I can tell you that in the Nucleonics Lab where we performed our analysis I saw a greater change in backgroud on our instrumentation in relation to the depth of the sub than I did in variations of reactor power.
   I remember very few injuries on an operating sub. Weekends were a different story, we were ordered once to cease our off duty football games after two broken legs and a broken collor bone, as it put a dent in our duty roster.
   The shipyards are a whole different beast especially the drydocks. This is an industrial environment in very cramped quarters with high priority on quick completion with a demand for high quality work.
   If I had to make the decision today I don't know what it would be. Me and most of my shipmates enlisted when the draft was active and the Vietnam War was still in full stride. I can tell you that I am glad that I do have these experiences both nuclear and military.
« Last Edit: Dec 16, 2004, 07:48 by Marlin »

ODiesel

  • Guest
Re: Navy Nuke safety?
« Reply #12 on: Dec 14, 2004, 08:33 »
It seems the radiation exposure health risks have been covered in plenty of detail. As far as other injuries are concerned, being that I am an electrician, I have the most likely chance to get shocked. Dont confuse being shocked with being electrocuted. Most everyone knows what it feels like to get shocked by standard household 120v60hz. A tingle, possibly minor pain depending on the sevarity. Try 250VDC. That will wake you up!!! 4160VAC? You "targets" can keep that all to yourself!!!

Back to the point. Household systems are grounded, where Navy systems are ungrounded. Ungrounded systems are more reliable, but more dangerous. This means if you come into contact with "Navy" electricity, you become the ground and you get shocked.  Oops did I say that? I meant, "Ouch! That was sharp!!"

The Navy has many safeguards in effect to prevent this from happening. Any work on enenergized gear will have electricians setting up "rubber rooms" to insulate the worker to prevent a path to ground. The worker also wears rubber gloves, a faceshield and uses non-conductive tools. A CPR qualified person is on station and communications are set up if securing power to the panel is required. If all this werent enough, there is a rope tied around him so that if he does get shocked, he can be pulled from the panel to prevent electrocution. He will then spend the next 24 hours with the doc, hooked up to an EKG machine to see if any damage was done.

I wont lie to you and say that I have never seen someone get shocked, but it is usually because they aren't paying attention to what they are doing or not taking appropriate electrical safety precautions...

Offline dave99

  • Light User
  • **
  • Posts: 10
  • Total likes: 0
  • Karma: 5
  • Gender: Male
  • I love NukeWorker.com!
Re: Navy Nuke safety?
« Reply #13 on: Dec 14, 2004, 10:24 »
I was a Navy Nuke MM from 72-80 I was a boomer sailor. I got about 2 Rem documented exposure in those 8 years. I had to pull one coworker off an accidentaslly energized 300v DC circuit (damn main Clutch control)  He was none the worse for it luckily.  My only real concern was slight Asbestos exposure.
 I am now a Navy Reserve Sailor in my spare time in an Amphibious Construction Batallion  I'm an Engineman..  I'm in much more danger in my present job. The Nuke Navy is much more safety aware than the rest of the armed forces.

ODiesel

  • Guest
Re: Navy Nuke safety?
« Reply #14 on: Dec 15, 2004, 05:46 »
The Nuke Navy is much more safety aware than the rest of the armed forces.


I definatly agree with that. I would rather absorb a few "zoomies" that get shot at over in the desert...

taterhead

  • Guest
Re: Navy Nuke safety?
« Reply #15 on: Dec 15, 2004, 09:41 »



I definatly agree with that. I would rather absorb a few "zoomies" that get shot at over in the desert...

Yep Yep-

I would rather soak up a few zoomies than a bullet.

ex-SSN585

  • Guest
Re: Navy Nuke safety?
« Reply #16 on: Jan 15, 2005, 02:26 »
Risk comparisons have already been presented, so I'll just add some personal data points:

Occupation while monitored for exposure: submarine ELT
Lifetime occupational exposure:               2.75 rem / 10 years of occupational exposure
  (For reference, one of the legal limits is 5 rem per year)
Circumstances:  includes two shipyard overhaul periods.  Most of the exposure was recorded
                      during those periods.  Much of that was performing maintenance surveys
                      to ensure minimum exposure for other personnel.
Typical monthly exposure:   0.004 to 0.012 rem / month
Estimated monthly exposure while performing ELT duties on an operating plant:  0.010 to 0.015 rem / month

ELTs are currently taken from the MM rating.
Normally, ETs stand watch in closest proximity to an operating reactor.
I would guess that, besides ELTs, the rating most likely to receive a large one-time does
is an ET doing maintenance in the reactor compartment.  That said, I would guess that
the rating least likely to do maintenance in the reactor compartment is also an ET.
Sorry to leave EMs out of the picture, but they have their own hazards.

The only serious injury I recall for a ship/submarine on which I was serving was on a submarine tender during a routine resupply helicopter transfer.  The downdraft for the rotor slammed a hatch against an MS who was trying to get through.  I recall no serious service-related injuries during 14 years sea duty (9 on submarines).

DISCLAIMER:  This is anecdotal evidence from one sailor's experience and is not based on statistical data.

xdoug92000

  • Guest
Re: Navy Nuke safety?
« Reply #17 on: Mar 09, 2005, 09:21 »
I suppose none of you did any reqctor refueling and end of life core testing, but thatsunderstandable, as far as I know my kind of work was only done a few times and is definately not recommended.

kerowhack

  • Guest
Re: Navy Nuke safety?
« Reply #18 on: Mar 21, 2005, 01:37 »
We are so safe, it's retarded. We go to great lengths, probably too great, to ensure that no one gets hurt. Every injury that I have ever seen is due to shipboard life, I.E. getting fingers caught in watertight doors, taking a bad roll and falling down a ladder, or walking into a bilge due to lack of sleep. Electricians actually don't get shocked that much, since we know what not to touch, so it turns out that it's usually mechanics who get it more. Actually, the cooks are probably the most shocked people onthe boat, since they try to cool down mixer motors with water and other dumbass things. Also, off duty stuff hurts a lot of people too. We can't play football on the weekends anymore due to the injury rate, and we recently had a guy who got pretty messed up in a motorcycle accident. But if you are worried about exposure to radiation, forget about it. Other posts have already documented the risks and precautions taken, so I will not beat the dead horse, but I do want to correct one statement: EM's are more likely to recieve a higher dose, not ET's. This is due to the fact that we have to work on the lights in the Reactor Compartment, and some of those lights are located next to stuff like check valves and the Ion Exchanger. 50 mrem in about an hour, hehe... which is pretty much nothing. Everything you've seen on movies and stuff like that is straight up wrong.  K-19 is a noteable exception, but those guys knew exactly what they were doing and what would happen, and you will never have to do anything like that ever if you decide to go nuke. A word of caution though... don't go fast attack subs unless you like to work all the time, not sleeping, and not having any sort of life whatsoever.

s_Phoenix

  • Guest
Re: Navy Nuke safety?
« Reply #19 on: Mar 21, 2005, 09:22 »
Just as a note on complancy in a job.  Know a job well and doing it right are not the same thing.  We say nuclear power is safe but it requires that we our job right all the time and if not it can cost you life.  I know this from personel experance on board my ship.  We lost a mechanic due to boiling hot water.  He thought he know the cause of a drain backing up.  But he didnt step back and look at the big picture.  Had h.  He would be alive to day. 

http://www.nukeworker.com/forum/index.php/topic,4349.0.html
« Last Edit: Apr 08, 2005, 12:42 by s_Phoenix »

 


NukeWorker ™ is a registered trademark of NukeWorker.com ™, LLC © 1996-2021 All rights reserved.
All material on this Web Site, including text, photographs, graphics, code and/or software, are protected by international copyright/trademark laws and treaties. Unauthorized use is not permitted. You may not modify, copy, reproduce, republish, upload, post, transmit or distribute, in any manner, the material on this web site or any portion of it. Doing so will result in severe civil and criminal penalties, and will be prosecuted to the maximum extent possible under the law.
Privacy Statement | Terms of Use | Code of Conduct | Spam Policy | Advertising Info | Contact Us | Forum Rules | Password Problem?