Radiation, yes indeed!

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There’s stuff being circulated on FB now about radiation levels from Fukushima increasing in the US and about the EPA (Obama!) raising their safety limit instead of dealing alerting people and dealing with it. I wanted to find out what is really going on. Or at least spend an hour to see what I could learn.

First, the EPA did release a draft report to raise the safe limits on certain exposures last year although it doesn’t seem to be a response to recent events or political pressure but bureaucratic and scientific views that started a decade earlier. This will take a lot more time to untangle so I will just leave that off here with the Forbes link.

Next up, are we seeing more radiation here from Fukushima and should we worry? Fallout from nuclear testing in the 50’s and 60’s peaked before the test ban treaty. It has come back down since then. My general feeling is that the sky is not falling that as horrible as the disaster is the global effects are less than Chernobyl and nuclear testing in the 50s and 60s.

radiation

To look at this myself I got some historical data collected in Concord NH since 1981 and graphed it to the right. This big spike is apparently Chernobyl and there is no large spike to the right since Fukushima. The small spike is before(?) and there could be a little more amplitude to the noise since. This is just collection point and there are some anomalies in the data set (spike at the beginning? flats around 09 maybe the collector was broken?). My general conclusion is we are not seeing a noticeable effect in the North East. The Pacific coast or maybe other areas could of course see something different depending on the wind patterns.

Just for comparison I thought I would look at the data that I collected myself. I keep a Gamma Scout Geiger counter in the basement to monitor the radon. But, the software is is having trouble decoding the data. Until I get that sorted I just have the government data.

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