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View Diary: DHS to fund safety study on backscatter Xray detectors at airports (81 comments)

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  •  Remember the Therac-25. (1+ / 0-)
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    Mote Dai

    There is something these discussions misses completely: what happens if these machines malfunction.

    What happens if the beam is set to be more intense than is specified?

    What happens if the beam remains on after the scan is done? The scan takes 100 milliseconds.  You're in the machine 10 seconds. That's an overdose factor of a 100 right there.

    What happens if the collimator, which stands between you and the beam source, doesn't move the way it's supposed to, causing one part of your body to get more of these rays than it's supposed to?

    The NAS will only do a review on the risks of a dose of radiation from a properly functioning scanner. They won't do a review on the likelihood and severity of a scanner malfunction from a mechanical or software mishap.

    The Therac 25 was a radiation therapy machine used for cancer treatment. It had a software bug that caused 7 patients to die from overdoses. Don't trust any report that fails to mention the Therac 25 and discuss in detail what steps, if any, Rapiscan has taken to prevent a repeat of that disaster.

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