The press has stopped running stories on Fukushima. Currently not much is happening, even though normal shutdown has not occurred. However, for many of us the most interesting things may be going on. Robots have been put into service to take readings around the reactors and identify all sorts of trouble areas. The robots unfortunately resemble desk lamps with tank treads on them, never the less they are providing useful measurements on the radiation levels. Radio controlled helicopters and airplanes with cameras have been in use as well, to video the containment buildings and grounds. fortunately it appears that the radiation levels have been dropping. There is some major problems though that are cropping up. What do you do with 10's of thousands of gallons of radioactive water? What needs to be done with the spent fuel rods that have been scattered about? The 12 mile exclusion zone also has its own issues, looting has been occurring. Some people have been concerned with contamination of goods from Japan.
On everyone's favorite auction website, I have finally had a chance to browse many of the radiation detection devices that are being sold at over inflated prices. As a consumer I have said this before, and will say it again, be very cautious before you buy, it is a mess. There are many devices, intended to detect microwaves and radio waves, being sold to protect people from radiation. The problem, you would get no reading from these detectors from an antique radium pocket watch nor from a spent fuel rod or nuclear blast. They detect the wrong type of radiation. The next category would be broken radiation detectors. Be very wary buying that cool looking PRI scintillator, there is a good chance it will not work. The next problem area are dosimeters and ion chambers like the CDV 715 and Pocket CDV 742's. Assuming they work, the only places that the units would register would be in the spent fuel ponds. Anything that measures in the Roentgen Range is going to be too insensitive to be of any value if you are concerned with food contamination or atmospheric contamination. The last category of equipment is that of "questionable" manufacture. I have seen some neat equipment, that a few months ago may have sold for $30 to $100, that is going for $150 or more! My only misgivings are how long would it truly last, since it appears cheaply constructed. However, there are some nice items that may be very expensive now, that should drop in value in the future.
This leaves me to my atmospheric tests. I have stopped. The primary reason I have stopped is this, I have not detected anything in the past month, and those that have detected the plume have detected it using equipment I understand may be 100,000 times more sensitive than what I have (by the way I mean that literally!).
I will continue to test different items, and I will test the rain, if it ever falls here in Oklahoma. I will also have more to blog about when that occurs. Recently I have also received some very interesting items as well, a vacuum tube that contains Cesium 137 and some small diameter scintillator probes, I intend to write about those as well, and add photos.
I also have been uploading data to Chris Smolinski of Black Cat System's Rad Map, http://www.blackcatsystems.com/RadMap/map.html , my PM1703m is always on, and I often wear my geiger counter wristwatch. My point, if you are reading this because of my radiation test for the plume, I am always testing for any source of radiation.
PM1703m = 7 uR/hr; PM1208 = .11 uSv/hr