Big Kate and Jude are among the mules that will be used for the radiological soil survey going on at Area IV of the Santa Susana Field Lab, as well as at the background locations chosen as reference areas to establish local radiological background levels so that clean-up standards consistent with SB990 can be set.

Shown right: is the “cart” version that has one sodium-iodide detector and the tests being done here are to determine how wide the detector “sees” a radiation source.  For example, if it is just outside the wheels, will it be seen?

Special thanks to NASA and GSA for making this possible, as we see the lab now truly being used to investigate and better understand the big job ahead.

Seeing collaborative work between the responsible parties is encouraging.

These careful pre-tests are needed to make sure the optimal “stripe” width is used in covering the various areas. 

Again the “cart” version has one detector, the mule has two (one on each side) and the big ERGS vehicle has eight.  The ERGS will have the strongest detection capability, but won’t have the accessibility of the walking tools as shown above and below in Big Kate and Jude (the mules)

The reason there are teams of mules is so that one is at the truck, in sight of the other, and resting so that they can swap them out to avoid tiring the animals.  Two teams of two, and then a horse “back at the ranch” just in case it is necessary to chase down a runaway detector.  So far, Big Kate and Jude seem dedicated as their handler, Mr. Robert Lappin, and aren’t likely to stray far.