b'C H A P T E R 11T H E C H E M P L A N TMonitoring the iodine releases to make stack. The RaLa operators were in radiosure operating contractors kept within contact with an HP at the scanner. WeIDO-set guidelines was the task of dropped it! they would say. The scan-health physicists. Monitoring teams ner detected the iodine cloud thecarried radiation detectors and patrolled moment it exited the stack. This devicesite roads and the public highway near was also responsible for revealing thatMud Lake during a release. When their the stack released iodine while processmeters detected a radioactive cloud, vessels inside L Cell were being decon-they took the highest reading and col- taminated. Learning this, the RaLalected air samples. They collected jack operators changed the decontaminationrabbits and analyzed their thyroids, schedule, doing it just before the nextoften finding these to be better indica- run, giving the iodine more time totors of off-site exposure to iodine than decay. 26were their meters. Of course, collectingthe jack rabbits also required special Iodine-131 (I-131) was potentially thetechniques, as HP John Byrom recalled most hazardous of the isotopes releasedlater: to the atmosphere by any of the opera-tions at the NRTS, and the RaLa pro-One method used was with a seat gram was the major contributor.anchored to the front fender of a truck However, the releases were not a secret.and a gunner with a shotgun strapped When the IDO began distributing quar-to the seat.The driver would head outterly environmental reports in 1959, theacross the sagebrush until the rabbit reports identified the curies of iodinewas flushed. Then it was up to the gunreleased-by these runs and maximumner to harvest the bunny. Much powderlevels that had been observed. 26was probably burned before the gun -ners got very good at this sport. Talks None of the iodine releases at the Chemwith the gunners indicated it was. Plant (or anywhere else at the NRTS)rather hard on the seat of understand -crossed the boundaries of the Siteing. All in all, the method was quite exceeding the radiation protection stan-successful and many specimens were dards applicable at the time. In thecollected, whether in self-protection or RaLa days, the highest dose to drift off-skill I could never learn. site may have been nine percent of the24allowable concentration. 27The march of progress eventually madebunny gunners obsolete. Like muchelse at the Site, pioneering methodsgave way to more economical or moreeffective improvements. To detect theiodine cloud as it exited the Chem Plantstack, for example, someone devised ascintillation sky scanner. The deviceused a pivoting gun barrel as a shield. Itwas erected just outside the Chem Plantfence and trained on the top of the1 0 5'