Radiation Blog

Radiation Protection for the Military: Surviving a Nuclear Disaster

31.12.18 | Monday | StemRad Team

“StemRad has answered the challenge of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.”
-Japan Ambassador H.E. Hideo Sato

The military brings the overwhelming capability to help a civilian population cope with humanitarian disasters, as it did during Hurricane Katrina and the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. Now (for the first time ever) military personnel can be protected from exposure to harmful gamma radiation.

In the 2011 Fukushima, nuclear reactor meltdown in Japan, 24,000 US army and navy personnel played a critical role in the emergency response including search and rescue operations, basic supply deployment to evacuees, and flyover operations to map radiation dispersal over the affected area. The U.S. military’s critical role in alleviating the crisis was deeply appreciated by the hard-hit local population and the government of Japan. Though it is hoped to be the last such crisis, the growing nuclear capabilities (peaceful and otherwise) in numerous countries increase the likelihood of another nuclear catastrophe. Moreover, an intentional nuclear incident could be even more destructive.

Following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March 2011, Dr. Oren Milstein and Daniel Levitt joined forces with Nobel Laureates Roger Kornberg, Aaron Ciechanover and soon-to-be laureate Michael Levitt with a common vision of ‘saving those who save us’ during a nuclear disaster. The group was further bolstered by the joining of Prof. Richard Champlin of M.D. Anderson, who had treated the radiologically injured first responders of Chernobyl in the days following the nuclear accident.

Stemrad’s 360 Gamma protects bone marrow tissue, which is highly sensitive to radiation. Protecting the bone marrow prevents acute radiation syndrome (ARS), which is the immediate life threat due to penetrating radiation (specifically, gamma radiation, as alpha and beta radiation do not deeply penetrate the body). Protecting the bone marrow also mitigates less immediate threats, such as certain cancers. Thus, StemRad’s 360 Gamma greatly increases the chances of surviving a nuclear disaster.

Wearable protection against penetrating radiation was previously considered infeasible due to the significant weight it entailed. Yet, by selectively shielding tissues that are sensitive to radiation, the weight is dramatically reduced, resulting in a lightweight wearable protective shield.

The following testing results, confirmed by the US Department of Energy’s PNNL Laboratory, demonstrate the invaluable protection offered by the 360 Gamma:


radiation shield

A broad spectrum of military units could benefit from the protection afforded by the StemRad 360 Gamma shield. During humanitarian efforts in a nuclear crisis, units such as the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force (CBIRF) and National Guard Civil Support Teams (NG CST) come to mind. In other scenarios – such as response to an RDD (Radiological Dispersal Device) or IND (Improvised Nuclear Device), or in handling nuclear ordinance and working with nuclear propulsion – many other units may benefit from radiation protection and the expanded capabilities that it provides.

All of these scenarios can lead to high dose exposure of gamma radiation and the onset of subsequent radiation sickness and death for a warfighter. Yet, with the proper protection, the risk drops dramatically, allowing military personnel to concentrate on the mission at hand.

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