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Posts Tagged ‘Geiger Counter’

Online Geiger Counter Nuclear Radiation Detector Map

In internet, natural disasters, Science on March 18, 2011 at 11:08

Readings are in uR/hr for Cs137/Co60
Only detectors with readings in the last 24 hours are displayed

Click Link Below to operate the Geiger Counter.

http://www.blackcatsystems.com/RadMap/map.html

Note that these are generally run by individuals, and not all readings may be accurate. Do not panic because you see a high reading. Someone could be getting invalid readings.
Treat this for information purposes only, do not make safety decisions based upon it.

Today is: 2011-03-18, and the time is 05:16:12 UTC.
This page will automatically refresh every 15 minutes.

Are your friends panicked by media coverage of the event? Share this page so they can see things are normal.

Typical background radiation levels for most of the USA are in the 5 to 28 uR/hr range. Readings can be higher for brief periods of time due to normal variations in radiation levels. They can also be consistently higher for areas at high elevations, or with larger natural deposits of uranium, thorium, radon, etc.

The readings on this page were obtained using one of the Black Cat Systems radiation detectors:

The detector is connected to an ordinary computer (Windows or Macintosh) running a copy of the Rad software and connected to the internet (dialup, cable modem, dsl, etc). Rad automatically sends the current radiation reading to the web server that hosts this site, which generates the map showing the readings for all radiation monitoring stations. Rad is included free with any of our radiation detectors.

Users of our detectors are welcome to add their site to the map. Contact us at info (at) blackcatsystems (dot) com for details on how.

A geiger counter lets you check the environment and items for radioactivity. You can use to check for the presence of radon on your house or basement, or even use it to go prospecting for uranium or other radioactive minerals. The GM-10 and other members of the geiger counter family can detect radioisotopes such as Polonium 210 which was used to poison Alexander Litvinenko.

A geiger counter works by detecting the ionization produced by a radioactive particle. Each time a particle of radiation is detected, the counter records this event. The number of events recorded over a period of time indicates the amount of radiation present. Often this is done over one minute intervals, resulting in the familiar “counts per minute” or CPM. The higher the CPM, the higher the radiation levels. You can read a more in depth description of how geiger counters work.

Radiation decay is a random event. That means that if the average reading is say 16 CPM, it will not remain a steady 16, but will bounce up and down. This is normal. The standard deviation is the square root of the average value, and the typical maximum range is plus or minus 3 standard deviations.

So, using the above example, the square root of 16 is 4, so the standard deviation is 4. 3 times 4 is 12. So we would expect the readings to be 16 +/- 12, or range from 4 to 28. That is to say, even if the radiation levels are a “constant” 16, the apparent readings of the geiger counter will range between 4 and 28. So if you suddenly see the reading jump from 16 to 25, that does necessarily not mean that the radiation level has increased.

There is a writeup about Counting Statistics available.

Radioactivity is the emission of energy from the nucleus of certain nuclides or elements. Some naturally occuring radioactive elements include uranium and thorium and radon. A small amount of naturally occuring potassium is even radioactive.

There are three types of radioactive emissions:

  • Alpha – the least penetrating form of radiation, can be stopped with a piece of paper or a few inches of air. Alpha rays are the nucleus of a helium atom, and are produced by certain radiactive materials such as thorium and uranium.
  • Beta rays are more penetrating than alpha rays, and can be stopped by a few millimeters of aluminum or other metals. They are very fast moving electrons.
  • Gamma rays are the most penetrating form of radiation. Depending on their energy, they can travel through up to several inches of steel, and hundreds of feet of air. They are usually produced in conjunction with either alpha or beta rays.

You may be interested in Information on Radiation Units and Background Radiation Levels

We also have an interesting page about Radioactive Products and Other Sources Of

Radiation

 

Related:

Radiation Level crosses Danger level in Japan.Video.Its effects.

In natural disasters, videos on March 14, 2011 at 11:12

Radiation levels have risen above the safety limit around Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (TEPCO) nuclear plant hit by a massive earthquake and the company has informed the government of an “emergency situation,” Kyodo agency reported on Sunday.

The exterior of reactor No. 3 at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is seen in this still image taken from undated file video footage. Japan battled to contain a radiation leak at an earthquake-crippled nuclear plant on March 13, 2011, but faced a fresh threat with the failure of the cooling system in a second reactor. Operator TEPCO said it was preparing to release some steam to relieve pressure in the No.3 reactor at the plant 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo -- which would release a small amount of radiation -- following an explosion and leak on Saturday in the facility's No. 1 reactor. Credit: Reuters/NHK via Reuters TV

It did not mean an immediate threat to human health, the company said.

The company said earlier that it had started releasing steam from a reactor at the plant. A similar rise in radiation levels occurred after the company released radioactive steam from another reactor to let go of pressure. Then again the company was obliged to inform the government of an “emergency situation.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/13/us-japan-quake-tepco-radiation-idUSTRE72B3PJ20110313

Geiger Counter is used to measure Radiation levels.

Related:

The highest recommended limit for radiation exposures is for astronauts-25,000 millirems per Space Shuttle mission, principally from cosmic rays. This amount is beyond the average 300+ millirems of natural sources of radiation and any medical radiation a person has received.

25,000 millirems per year level was the federal occupational limit during World War II and until about 1950 for radiation workers and soldiers exposed to radiation. The occupational limit became 15,000 millirems per year around 1950. In 1957, the occupational limit was lowered to a maximum of 5,000 millirems per year.

Average Natural Background: 300 Millirems

The average exposure in the United States, from natural sources of radiation (mostly cosmic radiation and radon), is 300 millirems per year at sea level. Radiation exposure is slightly higher at higher elevations-thus the exposure in Denver averages 400 millirems per year.

(A milliRem is 1/1000th of a Rem. According to McGraw-Hill’s Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms, a Rem is a unit of ionizing radiation equal to the amount that produces the same damage to humans as one roentgen of high-voltage x-rays. The name is derived from “Roentgen equivalent man.” Wilhelm Roentgen discovered ionizing radiation in 1895 at about the same time that Pierre and Marie Curie discovered radium.)

All of these limits are for the amount of radiation exposure in addition to background radiation and medical radiation.

Adult: 5,000 Millirems

The current federal occupational limit of exposure per year for an adult (the limit for a worker using radiation) is “as low as reasonably achievable; however, not to exceed 5,000 millirems” above the 300+ millirems of natural sources of radiation and any medical radiation. Radiation workers wear badges made of photographic film which indicate the exposure to radiation. Readings typically are taken monthly. A federal advisory committee recommends that the lifetime exposure be limited to a person’s age multiplied by 1,000 millirems (example: for a 65-year-old person, 65,000 millirems).

Minor: 500 Millirems

The maximum permissible exposure for a person under 18 working with radiation is one-tenth the adult limit or not to exceed 500 millirems per year above the 300+ millirems of natural sources, plus medical radiation. This was established in 1957 and reviewed as recently as 1990.

Fetus: 500 Millirems Or 50 Per Month (New Rule Jan. 1, 1994)

New federal regulations went into effect New Year’s Day, establishing for the first time an exposure limit for the embryo or fetus of a pregnant woman exposed to radiation at work. The limit for the gestation period is 500 millirems, with a recommendation that the exposure of a fetus be no more than 50 millirems per month.

Weight Variables

Like alcohol intoxication levels, levels of exposure to radioactivity (due to radioactivity deposited in the body) depend on a person’s weight. A diagnostic tracer of one microcurie of radioactive calcium 45, given orally, would result in an exposure of 3.7 millirems for a 100-pound person, and half of that, 1.85 millirems, for a 200-pound person.

Therapeutic Radiation

Therapeutic radiation treatment that is delivered by administering radioactive material via the mouth or by injection usually results in high, very localized doses to a small part of the body, which absorbs most of the radioactivity. The radioactivity concentrates and remains in the target organ (for example, the thyroid) for a longer period of time than does the radioactivity that is distributed to the rest of the body. The radiation exposure for other parts of the body is a function of the amount of radioactivity per pound and the time the radioactivity is present in the tissue.

http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/1994/safe-0105.html

This figure illustrates the relative abilities of three different types of ionizing radiation to penetrate solid matter. Alpha particles (α) are stopped by a sheet of paper while beta particles (β) are stopped by an aluminium plate. Gamma radiation (γ) is dampened when it penetrates matter.

In physicsradiation describes a process in which energetic particles or waves travel through a medium or space. There are two distinct types of radiation; ionizingand non-ionizing. The word radiation is commonly used in reference to ionizing radiation only (i.e., having sufficient energy to ionize an atom), but it may also refer to non-ionizing radiation (e.g., radio waves or visible light). The energy radiates (i.e., travels outward in straight lines in all directions) from its source. This geometry naturally leads to a system of measurements and physical units that are equally applicable to all types of radiation. Both ionizing and non-ionizing radiation can be harmful to organisms and can result in changes to the natural environment.Radiation hormesis is the theory that low doses of radiation can be beneficial toorganisms.

-(Wikipedia)

Radiation Effects.

Certain body parts are more specifically affected by exposure to different types of radiation sources. Several factors are involved in determining the potential health effects of exposure to radiation. These include:

  • The size of the dose (amount of energy deposited in the body)
  • The ability of the radiation to harm human tissue
  • Which organs are affected

The most important factor is the amount of the dose – the amount of energy actually deposited in your body. The more energy absorbed by cells, the greater the biological damage. Health physicists refer to the amount of energy absorbed by the body as the radiation dose. The absorbed dose, the amount of energy absorbed per gram of body tissue, is usually measured in units called rads. Another unit of radation is the rem, or roentgen equivalent in man. To convert rads to rems, the number of rads is multiplied by a number that reflects the potential for damage caused by a type of radiation. For beta, gamma and X-ray radiation, this number is generally one. For some neutrons, protons, or alpha particles, the number is twenty.

Hair

The losing of hair quickly and in clumps occurs with radiation exposure at 200 rems or higher.

Brain

Since brain cells do not reproduce, they won’t be damaged directly unless the exposure is 5,000 rems or greater. Like the heart, radiation kills nerve cells and small blood vessels, and can cause seizures and immediate death.

Thyroid

The certain body parts are more specifically affected by exposure to different types of radiation sources. The thyroid gland is susceptible to radioactive iodine. In sufficient amounts, radioactive iodine can destroy all or part of the thyroid. By taking potassium iodide can reduce the effects of exposure.

Dose-rem Effects
5-20 Possible late effects; possible chromosomal damage.
20-100 Temporary reduction in white blood cells.
100-200 Mild radiation sickness within a few hours: vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue; reduction in resistance to infection.
200-300 Serious radiation sickness effects as in 100-200 rem and hemorrhage; exposure is a Lethal Dose to 10-35% of the population after 30 days (LD 10-35/30).
300-400 Serious radiation sickness; also marrow and intestine destruction; LD 50-70/30.
400-1000 Acute illness, early death; LD 60-95/30.
1000-5000 Acute illness, early death in days; LD 100/10.

http://www.atomicarchive.com/Effects/effects15.shtml

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