The Daily Need

Photo: A super-size scrub

Sailors aboard the USS Ronald Reagan scrubbed the external surfaces on the flight deck and island superstructure to remove potential radiation contamination on March 23, 2011. Photo: U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Nicholas A. Groesch

Air operations aboard the USS Ronald Reagan were temporarily halted today so more than 300 crew members could clean the ship of potential contamination from a radioactive plume off the coast of Japan on March 13. The mast-to-deck scrubdown was conducted mainly using high-pressure sprayers, brooms and seawater.

The aircraft carrier was 100 miles from the Fukushima nuclear power plant when it encountered the low-level radiation plume emitted by the plant. The radiation levels were determined to be low enough to continue humanitarian operations aboard the ship, including serving as a floating refueling station for the Japan Self-Defense Force in Operation Tomodachi (Operation Friendship).

In case you were wondering how they got all those suds cleaned up, the flight deck has an awesome sprinkler system.

Photo: U.S. Navy/2nd Class Josh Cassatt

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  • J_planet

    Has there been any discussion regarding disposal of the contaminated wash water?

  • Khanden

    So if you didn’t notice they said there’s a sprinkler system aboard the flight deck, that sprinkler system more than likely washed off the soapy residue off and into the ocean. Which really isn’t that big of a deal with such a low potential level of contaminants and how large the pac. is it would just spread out and not matter.

  • Ajax

    @aa0b38624367dbc119ea5b4620f71e7d:disqus  - You’re not really thinking this through are you? The radiation would’ve entered the sea *regardless* of whether it landed on the carrier. The clean-up merely put it where it was going. Cleaning up the miniscule amount of radioactive material would be the physical (and moral) equivalent of scooping a cup out of a 10,000 Olympic-sized pools and calling it … whatever you want to call it. I call it pointless and ridiculous.Blame the Japanese nuclear plant operator if you want to, but don’t make this an American armed forces issue.

  • DangrusDana

    Am I the only person who notices that they dont even have protective gear on as they are spewing that radiation off the Reagan?  Someones not looking after the well being of our troops who are living beings that can be adversely effected by that exposure, shame shame.