Sources say the agents were members of the elite TSA VIPR team on the 5:04pm Union Pacific West line. They were carrying hand-held nuclear-detection devices that picked up a reading.Back when I did a lot of work with radioactive isotopes, and had a gamma counter at my disposal, we had several people come by after various medical procedures, and record their radioactivity. Compared to the amount of amount of radioactivity we are normally exposed to, the levels used by some of the medical tests are shockingly high. If you spilled that much in the laboratory, it would be a major cleanup and paperwork headache, but for medical use? Here, drink this...
...The TSA team passed by him several times before ending up on his train car. Finally, he got a clue when an agent questioned the man right next to him and asked, ‘Sir, do you have an explanation as to why I am getting a high isotope reading on your bag?’”
“The fellow’s jaw dropped,” Jones said.
Once the agent said the word “isotope,” Jones says he realized he was the one they were looking for. He raised his hand to say he had a nuclear stress test. The tests can leave patients emitting radiation for some time. After showing identification and proof of the nuclear test, Jones and the other passengers were allowed to go on their way.
He says he’s satisfied with the way authorities acted, “knowing there are people on the lookout for this type of thing,” and was pleased with the way officers and passengers behaved.
Patients undergoing nuclear testing can request a card they can give to security if they travel afterward. Doctors have done this for air travelers.