Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Fun With RadCon!

For some reason, I started thinking about RadCon as I was driving home from work last night to start my weekend. What Nuke (Nuc? What is the right spelling anyway?) doesn't smile when they remember things like:

1) An ELT showing you his open hand and saying "1500", clapping his hands together and saying "750", then brushing his hands on his shirt and saying "Less than".
2) SWIMS: "Smile, Walk away, Ignore it, Make up a story, Stick by your story"
3) The abuse the ELT would take when "walking the dog" in the forward compartment.
4) The sheer panic of a young SDO touring topside after dinner and seeing the recently-qualified duty ELT being held by a rope and harness over the side by some NUB while doing the periodic swipe of the "special" spot and being absolutely covered with the seaweed that was growing around said "special" hull spot, and wondering how in the hell he's going to deal with the potentially-contaminated seaweed all over the potentially-contaminated ELT.

What RadCon stories make you grin uncontrollably when you think about them? Here's my favorite.


Anonymous MMC/SS (ret) Paul Tillery said...

Used tweezers to pull swipe from valve cap leakage out of envelope,place in front off radiac which mmediatly spiked,changed scale and spiked again. Spiked on all scales. I dropped the tweezers and swipes like they were on fire. Turns out tweezers were used on mare island sample and ended up where they shouldnot have been.

6/07/2012 10:03 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Disclaimer, this was about 8 years ago, and much of my nuke knowledge has been dumped in favor of stuff more relevant to my current occupation.

I’m EDO in dry dock at EB, the RC has been open off and on for more than a week. We take the door off the latch and I head in to tour. Low and behold I find that there is a small amount of yellow-ish goo sort of half dried on top of a tank in RCLL roughly underneath the edge of the RX. I sort of stare at it for a minute or two and look upwards for evidence of anything it could have come from. No drips, no signs of anything amiss, nothing.

Then I’m forced to make the sort of nuclear judgment call that they just can’t train you for:

Spill or Spunk?

While as a good submariner I’m somewhat familiar with both, I couldn’t rightly claim to be an expert on either. So completing my tour I asked the RC door watch to get me an ELT, who I figured was an expert. Word is passed through maneuvering, but instead of calling him on the 2JV, I hear “ELT to the Reactor Compartment” ring out over the 2MC. Knowing the ENG probably heard that, my options are now a bit more limited.

I drag the ELT down to have a look anyway. His expert analysis, “uhh… you know what that is, right?” He didn’t come out and say it, but I could see the look in his eyes saying “just walk away, and this will disappear.”

While I know we’ll probably see a witch hunt. I refuse to be put in a position where I’ve got to lie to anyone about the 2MC announcement, so I call away the spill. I explain the spill is stopped as we frisk out. EB radcon arrives shortly thereafter to fulfill their temporary role as nuclear giz moppers.

To my surprise everyone - ENG, CO, Shipyard and NR reps - doesn’t want to talk about it so they don’t bother with the witch hunt. It was as if they all knew what went down, but no one wanted to admit that this sort of thing could happen. The sample apparently went off to be tested for a chemical which would indicate it came from a certain tank in the RC. We got a report back that that chemical was not present. That was the last I ever heard of it. My guess is that the CO told the EDMC to make sure this got handled at the deck plate. The origin of the stain remains a mystery - at least to me.

6/07/2012 10:26 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember a striker coming aft for some checkouts and on the way forward we had the RO test the PSWT Low Level alarm so the High Radiation light at the aft end of the tunnel would flash. Of course we immediately had the striker stop, informed him that he had set off the radiation alarm and he must immediately be decontaminated. We took him to the E/R head, had him strip down and take a shower, of course after we isolated the hot water to the shower. We thought the crap would hit the fan when the ENG happened to come back to the ER but he asked what was going on and we all responded "Decon Training Sir" and nothing else was mentioned. Striker got the last laugh I'm sure though. He became a Corpsman.

6/07/2012 10:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

During the early 1980s in Pearl Harbor, the procedure for calibrating potentially contaminated torque wrenches involved putting them in an appropriately labeled container and then hand-walking them over to the cal shop. While we were on WestPac, the procedure changed. Upon our return, we were given a copy of the standard 25 or so page subase radcon agreement. Not surprisingly, we did not read the entire agreement the first night we were back in port. When one of our MM2s walked over to the cal shop the next day and pulled out one of the torque wrenches, someone in the cal shop called away a spill. Shortly after that, we were given an "opportunity" to read the entire radcon agreement.

6/07/2012 11:55 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my take one it.

The Meritorius Unit Commendation and the Navy Unit Commendation are abbreviated "MUC" and "NUC" and both terms rhyme with "duck when spoken.

Therefor, the proper way to spell Navy nuke is, of course, "nuke".

6/07/2012 12:28 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

During an ORSE evolution several years ago, a spill was called away during an add. After the ensuing clean up, reliefs were required in the ER to finish up the evolution while those involved went forward (with the ORSE board in tow) to figure out what went wrong. While attempting to secure from the evolution and remove a slightly pressurized line, a solid stream of water shot straight out and...up into the overhead. Bringing to mind the old "tree falls in the woods" adage, the ELT and I wondered if a spill had actually occurred. How do you call that one way...spill in ML has spread to UL?

6/07/2012 1:18 PM

Blogger a_former_elt_2jv said...

My all time favorite was when I was in maneuvering conspiring to do some evolution or other with the EOOW, when the RCLPO opens the door, hands me a damp kimwipe, tells the EOOW and I that he had counts on the kimwipe from the area just ahead of maneuvering, then calls away a spill.

This wasn't a drill.

As my LELT at NPTU would say, "Buddy is only half the word!"

6/07/2012 2:23 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

ELT on the usta-fish was warming up his McDonald's big mac in the pig in nucleonics and caught the wrapper on fire.

Fire was handled on a very localized level and not a word was breathed.

6/07/2012 6:12 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

500 mR/hr gamma on contact with a bunch of 35 year old steel cable from a neutron source.

6/07/2012 7:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our on watch ELT came in to manuevering with the first sample of the primary after a very long period of lay-up in the yards.

Let's just say things were a tad off that may require contacting certain people. After some discussion said ELT returns about 2 hours later and samples were all in spec.....

Oh yeah, and if you were to look at the SEO's valve log it would shed some light on how the magic happened :)

6/07/2012 7:59 PM

Anonymous Mark/MM1(SS) said...

anon @ 6:12 - did you ever happen to feed the shaft seals? Someone got you good with that story.

6/07/2012 9:10 PM

Blogger SJV said...

At the only prototype of a two reactor submarine plant, had to do a PM on the LL Bilge alarms. Process involved suiting up and then using a bag of water to surround the dang float so it could be tested. Then hold it until the SRO announced the alarm. Only problem was - it was under a pipe or a vessel or something. Bilge was known to be full of nastys. SO...laying on my side/back/stomach, sticking my arms under the pipe, my cheek about a half inch from the nasty it done, went out, took off banana suit, frisked out clean. Bag and wipes crapped up. I'll never know how the heck I didn't get anything on me. Other radcon story involves a startup with a certain door cracked open. A good Shift Engineer lost his job over that one.

6/07/2012 9:22 PM

Anonymous submarines once... said...

Early 70's-S/Y refueling overhaul. Conducted PMS on various primary d/p cells. (Back when you isolated the cells and used test equipment-not the operational test procedure). PMS completed, RC div enters RC to restore cell to service. Steps over the still connected tygon tubing (not good...) and opens the first isolation valve. Tygon tubing fails plant pressure test and people and equipment get a good wash-down. Post incident critique was still in NRTB's 25+ years later. Ouch-

6/08/2012 6:18 AM

Anonymous ELT1/SS said...

My first duty day as ELT was on a Friday the 13th. I was so terrified to be by myself making sure everything got done that I barely slept. The following day a shipyard worker noted that the RC door was ajar, but not quite locked as such. First ELT watch and critique/IR on the same day. During the critique, CO said to go around the room, stating your watch and why you thought you were at the critique.

My response: I'm xxxxxx, the duty ELT, and I was... in the rack.

CO nodded and moved on.

As far as shenanigans, I always liked using the TS1189 to demonstrate to coners what radiation is by pointing it at the frisker probe about 4-5 feet away and letting it alarm. It usually resulted in them getting real uneasy, but I think I got my point across.

6/08/2012 6:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I reported to Drum with a year remaining in a PSNS refueling overhaul. As was the case with 75% of the crew, I had never been to sea, so it was pretty eye opening. The first at sea drill I remember was a spill in AMR2LL, in which a rather salty MM1 was "crapped up." The CO/XO SR was prepped as a decon station and MM1(SS) "S" was escorted, sans poopie suit, thru the tunnel toward Control and the CO/XO SR. Problem was PO "S" was also not wearing skivvies and was strutting like a Peacock. After a good laugh, the CO put out a new standing order that night: All personnel were required to wear underwear while in uniform or poopie suit.

6/08/2012 8:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scene setter: During heatup as part of initial crit in NEWCON. Everyone knows how much attention you get.

EB radcon finds a drop of water from packing leakage on the deck by the PSS. Calls away a spill. ELT is there immediately, wipes it up with a swipe, frisks and release. Calls spill stopped.

Oh no,says SY RADCON. He specifies full anti-c's for cleanup. Wants to see the whole circus. Stops the heatup. That is when I lost it and kicked him out of the ER.

6/08/2012 8:47 AM

Blogger LT H said...

A large amount of packing leakage from valve that was caught in the drip tray. The squadron rider onboard forced us to call away a spill even though it was contained in the drip tray. Everyone was back there. CO was handing the ELT swipes, XO was telling him where to swipe, the Squadron Deputy was watching the frisker, and my ERML watch was supervising the whole evolution.

Afterwards my CO did a happy dance in ERML and told him to spread the rumor that we were pulling into Pearl for an emergent repair. Yeah... no such luck.

6/08/2012 11:06 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shipyard spill drill. ELT was found with counts on his trou by C105 and directed to remove said trou. He refused. As MIC, I directed him to remove trou in front of female C105 tech. He whined at me "LT - I have no skivies on". Decon complete...moved on.

6/08/2012 1:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's official - RADM Mike Connor has been nominated for VADM and assignment as COMSUBFOR, COMSUBLANT, and COM Allied Sub Command.

Wonder where Richardson is going? (speaking of RADCON).

Also, Paul Bushong nominated for VADM and assigment as U.S. security coordinator, Israel-Palestinian Authority.

Congratulations to all - good leaders who will do well in their new jobs!

6/08/2012 2:22 PM

Anonymous laughter in manslaughter said...

Two stories:

1. We called the messenger back to the engine room and handed him a test tube with glowing green liquid in it, then a second one with an glowing orange liquid. ELT goes, "Hey take those up to the CRA. He's the OOD and wanted to check on the primary samples when they're done". The messengers eyes got HUGE as he held them at arms distance and started to walk forward. He made it to the mess decks, was about to go up the ladder when the ENG came by. ENG took him back to maneuvering, where we made to explain to the nub that it was just the glow in the dark liquid from light sticks. After he left, much more relieved, the ENG fell to the floor laughing his ass off.

Second story: We had been running fire in nucleonic drills, and the COB kept running back and getting his dumb A-gang ass contaminated then leaving to go back to the chiefs quarters and "contaminating" the whole boat. So when ORSE came around, the biggest guy was told to sit in the booth in crews mess across from the galley entrance. When they called away the fire in nucleonics and the COB came running back to fight it, our guy hit him into the galley like a linebacker. No contaminated ship that time.

6/09/2012 5:42 AM

Anonymous dirty blueshirt said...

While playing with the Marine Recon wannabes, we had the ELT come through the tunnel with a cup of "Neutrons" (BBs doused in lightstick glow-juice) and "spill" them while a couple Marines were checking gear.

We quickly enlisted their help in cleaning up the mess while I stood at the fwd tunnel door to prevent access. The Eng tries to come through and asks "what's going on?", to which I reply "Neutron spill clean-up" with a straight face. Eng equally straight faced says, "Carry on" and heads back forward.

Later the Eng caught up with us and had a bit of a laugh with us, while warning us to not try that crap again without at least giving him a heads-up.

6/09/2012 7:02 AM

Blogger jack sutherin said...

I guess the nuke world has changed from what this old phart knew. At the twin reactor prototype, refuelling was starting. They built a tent around the mcp's and pulled all four pumps. the pump volutes were covered with wooden and sheet lead. As a new white belt waiting for my red belt, my buddy and I were sent down to clean the pump volutes with rags and acetone. Guess what happened. Alarms all over the place, anti[c's were about 5 mr when we came out. Don't glow in the dark anymore or less, so I guess it didn't kill me.

6/09/2012 8:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This happened while TDY to CSS-7 Ops. The Darter had changed homeports from Yokosuka to Pearl prior to decomming and she was moored next to the Radcon barge. One day the Radcon barge held a drill and it was common practice that the nearest nuke boat would supply some nuke trained personnel to assist in the drill. So I get a phone call from a very irate JG yelling that the boat moored next to the RADCON barge refused to assist in the drill. I stated it was impossible for them to assist in the drill. He stated he didn't care, but to call and have them send their personnel. I stated I would not call and before I could explain, he started bitching me out. So he ranted and raved and when he finally stopped for breath, I stated that diesel boats had no reactors. There was dead silence on the phone which lasted an eternity, then a dial tone.

6/09/2012 12:59 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

RADCON???? I used to laugh at RADCON drills and stuff.

I was a coner!!! We didn't need no stinking RADCON!!!!

Nukes got those big SRBs. They can have them!!! They gots RADCON!

6/10/2012 9:03 AM

Blogger Jack said...

Primary dp cell pm at twin reactor prototype. Go into the RC to relieve as oncoming maintenance guy and see RCLPO sitting dejectedly near the rig. Asked him what he was doing, he replied "Waiting to decay". Radiological isolators (prophylactics) had failed, covering him with short lived. He waited till the end of his stay time and left the RC clean.

6/10/2012 10:17 AM

Anonymous mark/MM1(ss) said...

Not buying it, Jack. By the time the plant is in a state where that PM would be done, and the RC opened, any activity short-lived enough to decay appreciably within a shift would have been long gone anyway. Not to mention the shear stupidity to camp in the RC and hope nobody found out why (at a prototype!) because he thought he might frisk hot.

6/11/2012 5:52 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As ERS on sea trials on a newer model sub. We ran a leak drill, and the RO went to isolate a loop. No problem. We vented and refilled, then went to recover. The gage glass blew out. The MPA, who was standing near the flask, somehow (I think levitation) avoided getting wet. No such luck for me and the ERML watch. I called away the spill (as an ex RCSS, I felt obligated to) and waited patiently.
The first man on the scene was the CO. Then the Eng. A while later, I saw an ELT.
It felt a little wierd to have the CO handing me rags for spill cleanup, with the ENG taking them to a counting station

6/11/2012 6:33 PM

Blogger Jed Christiansen said...

I was CRA doing check chemistry with my LELT when we had a minor problem with the sample sink.

Hearing the 1MC saying "the CRA and Leading ELT are potentially contaminated" definitely made for an interesting midwatch.

(For my first year on board, every major thing that went wrong happened to me on the mid-watch... )

6/22/2012 5:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doing a low level alarm check of a certain yellow water expansion tank. NRMD gave us two poly bottles with a procedure to swap to the second when the first was 2/3rd full. LELT didn't want to deal with that, and the alarm "should" come in before the 1st bottle fills up.
NUB ELT is handling passing in swipes and survey stuff, and states, "The bottle is looking pretty full. Should we swap it out before it overflows?"
LELT: "Shut the fuck up! I've covered up more spills than you've ever even heard of!"
~5 seconds later, HEPA filter becomes a showerhead putting yellow water in the area forward of MAN.
LELT: "Shit! Smith, shut the valve!"

2/06/2013 8:06 AM

Blogger Ed Mahmoud said...

ELTs were all Grateful Dead or punk rock 'X" type fun loving guys on the CVN-70. Ed from the CVN-70.

3/06/2013 6:16 PM


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