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Public Lab Research note

Radiation Monitoring

by bodacea | January 30, 2014 17:41 30 Jan 17:41 | #9989 | #9989

What I want to do

Understand how publically-available and potentially-buildable radiation sensors map to radiation stories and concerns.

My attempt and results

First, the issues:

  • Fukushima.
  • Lakeland, Florida - phosphate-mining waste, elevated levels of radium-226 in the soil (article)
  • Monitoring timed released from US radiation plants... I read about this during Fukoshima, but can't find the link

And the numbers:

Then the available Geiger counters:

So I'm learning that there are several 'educational' radiation detection kits, and that even some of those (e.g. the SparkFun one) are subject to US export controls - which is worth knowing if you're building them for use outside the USA.

And active maps and data feeds:

Questions and next steps

The Lakeland article mentions EPA doing an aerial radiation survey. I wonder if that could be feasibly done by public participation?

Issues for radiation monitoring include personal safety, e.g. going to places that are probably contaminated. What types of precautions need to be taken? Should this be done at all (although if there are people living in these areas, people going there is a moot point). And are there already registers or maps of former phosphate mining areas?

Why I'm interested

I started reading this article: EPA abandons major radiation cleanup in Florida, despite cancer concerns (Global Security Newswire, 28th Jan 2014) and wondered how well the android-compatible geiger counter on my desk could be used by local people to measure their radiation risk. I also wanted somewhere to put readings and notes that have lying around about crowdsourced radiation monitoring.

(Ps. Radiation symbol by OCAL: don't know where to put the attribution for it)


Sounds great, have a look at Safecast (Japan) and their bGeigie nano (

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I have been working on the lakeland radiation issue for a few years now. I am very interested in getting more data on hotspots and understanding risks. would love to brainstorm ways to get a more quantitive understanding of the situation there and if we can use some form of open source or low cost means of assessing radiation levels in this area. thoughts??

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I am interested in the subject also but more on the technological side. Anyone interested in designing and constructing a scintillation counter?

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