But according to Dwyer's calculations, they might receive in an instant the maximum safe lifetime dose of ionizing radiation - the kind that wreaks the most havoc on the human body.
Seriously - There's no such thing as a "safe" lifetime dose. Radiation damage is cumulative, and the shorter the time period of exposure, the more dangerous it is. In other words, the less exposure you receive, the more time your body has to repair the damage to your DNA.
For example, an exposure of 2000 Rad in an hour will kill you. (for reference, 1 rad = 0.01 Gy = 0.01 J/kg). 500 rad over 5 hours will likely kill you. 500 rad total exposure over the remainder of your life might very well go unnoticed.
Edited by u3b3rg33k - 4/21/13 at 11:58pm
This criticality exposed the 37-year-old Peabody to a fatal radiation dose of 10,000 rad (100 Gy). He died 49 hours after the incident.
Ninety minutes later a second excursion happened when a plant manager returned to the building and turned off the agitator, exposing himself and another administrator to doses of up to 100 rad (1 Gy) without apparent ill effect.